OK lawmakers wanting to remove sex education from schools

Removing sex education from schools would mean people are not getting any information about safe sexual health and how to ensure they are smart and protected

Some of Oklahoma lawmakers think that sex education does not have a place in the school, and are seeking legislation to remove it from schools. Currently, Oklahoma does not require that schools include sex education as part of the curriculum in schools, and what students do receive is mostly abstinence based and does not teach students how to best protect their bodies and their health, which is becoming increasingly more and more important as Oklahoma tightens abortion bans.

Advocates for sex education in school say that sex education should not be politicized and that young people should know how to prevent risky behaviour that could result in pregnancies and also how to avoid sexually transmitted infections. When reporters from The Oklahoman asked their stance on sex education in schools, governor candidates, Kevin Stitt (R) and Joy Hofmeister (D) did not comment and candidates for State Superindent also declined to comment.

Lawmakers are against teaching sex education in class because they claim that they are concerned that introducing topics that parents haven’t broached at home will take away the parents ability to have a conversation they feel is appropriate with their child and will encourage children to start having sex at a young age. However, if parents are not inclined to talk to their children about safe sex practices and the schools don’t, then children could learn about it from the internet or their peers, which does not guarentee the correct resources and information will be found.

Oklahoma currently has the fourth highest birth rate of teen pregnancy in the United States, 2,800 per 100,000, and is fifth in the nation regarding cases of STIs, 283 per 100,000. If sex education is completely removed from the classroom, it can be expected that Oklahoma could see a rise in these numbers in the coming years.

The abortion bans signed by Governor Stitt have not prevented abortions, merely safe ones performed by a professional, and more and more people have been seeking self-managed abortions through abortion pills or other methods. According to a research paper published by JAMA Network, an open access monthly medical journal published by the American Medical Association, women seeking abortion pills in Oklahoma has risen from 1.9 requests per 100,000 to 6 requests per 100,000, and similar numbers have been reported in states with similarly restrictive abortion access.

Sex education is incredibly important to ensure that people of all ages know how their bodies work and how to protect themselves and turning something that everyone needs to know into a political discussion will do more harm than good at the expense of young Oklahomans.

Currently, Oklahoma does not require that schools teach sex education, and if they do, they must send home a permission slip with students for parents to sign with a description of what the children will be learning and the option for parents to require their child to sit out. Oklahoma stresses abstinence but does not mention contraception at all to students, one of 18 states to do so. Oklahoma also requires that AIDS and HIV prevention be covered at least once between the seventh and ninth grades and once again between the tenth and twelfth grades.

Post Author: Erika Brock