Editorial: Time for sex education to return to schools


Samantha Freeman

The majority of Texas school districts, including Coppell ISD, teach abstinence-only or, in most cases, no sex education at all. The Sidekick editorial board thinks students should be taught sex education in school.

Editorial Board

Ignorance is not bliss, particularly when it compromises the safety and well being of others. Given that the only sex education we have had in Coppell is the puberty video in elementary school and the ‘Aim for Success’ program in seventh grade, it is clear that students aren’t provided with sufficient or consistent information or support. As more generations shift to technology-led lives, the concept can become desensitized for adolescents, and the need for sex education increases.

In Texas public schools, sex education is not required. However, if a school chooses to partake in sex edcaution, they are required to emphasize abstinence as the preferred choice, which many groups have stated is ineffective and avoids many key discussions about HIV, contraceptives and more. 

The word “sex” is passed through whispers or murmured behind closed doors, as it’s actively avoided in discussion. In some cases, this may lead to misinformation about sex or lack of information entirely, which can be significantly more dangerous than sex education. The meager extent of many students’ knowledge is that sex transmists diseases and an immoral attitude, and the subject is often a sore spot that leaves important questions unanswered. Most adolescents lack the resources at home or aren’t comfortable openly discussing sex with their parents, which forces them to turn to the internet, their peers or other unreliable sources. 

School has the potential to be that safe space where students have access to facts about birth control methods, pregnancy, infections that spread through sex, and more by a certified expert who can answer questions and address topics like consent. Students’ questions never leave their lips out of fear of embarrassment or shame. The responsibility falls on the education system to facilitate a safe learning environment and teach students academics and information they can apply to the real world. 

The implementation of sex education is often narrow-mindedly associated with encouraging sex; however, its purpose is to educate and steer students away from the dangers that could arise from misinformation. Sex is a part of life and no preventative measure will erase its existence. Sex education does not encourage sexual behavior; it teaches students about their rights, the potential dangers of sex and how to practice safe sex.

Students should be exposed to age appropriate sex education throughout their adolescence. This process should begin as early as possible to properly acclimate students to the topic and make it less foreign. This information will give them the cornerstone to maintain and build healthy relationships. Students need to be able to set boundaries, respect the boundaries of others.

In early elementary school students can be introduced to consent through sharing toys. Near the end of elementary school students can learn about puberty. As they enter middle school they can learn more about the biology of reproduction, establish an understanding about contraception and explore gender identity and sexual orientation. Finally in high school, they will learn everything from body image to relationships in more detail.

Sex is a consensual act. Not knowing how to say no, navigating an unpleasant situation, or identifying red flags can be dangerous and may lead to sexual assault. Sex education allows students to know themselves better by exploring their beliefs and values. 

High school is the time for the strong foundation of building blocks to be transformed into a finished, structurally sound building where one feels comfortable commuting and making informed decisions about sexual health. Students deserve to have the resources to make it on their own when the time comes and avoid a culture shock when they enter the real world. 

Since people in Coppell don’t talk about sex and society denounces it, peers crack jokes and tease one another for curiosity, despite wondering themselves. Sexuality has become weaponized by bullies, making it increasingly important to address sexual orientation, gender identity and non-heteronormative guidelines. The LGBTQ+ community has the basic human right to inquire about these things without being afraid of scrutiny.

A judgment-free zone enables students to knock down the barrier in the way of general public health. Discussing sex doesn’t compromise the innocence of our youth; it makes youth less ignorant and sets them up for a lifetime of success. Safety is the most important concern when it comes to sex, and being equipped with knowledge of risks, preventative measures and skills will lead students to make healthy decisions. 

Instead of tip-toeing around the issue, it’s time for the education system to hit the nail on the head. As the CHS student body, we need to be the driving force behind the hammer and advocate for the education system to implement sex education. Whether that means pleading your case to the state representative, signing a petition or encouraging friends and family to open the discussion, there is something we can all do to destigmatize the word “sex.”