Sex education training in NC. It works.

Crossposted on Amplify
A year or two ago, the thought of going into NC public schools and training teachers how to teach comprehensive sex education would have seemed crazy.  Schools were required to adhere to a strict abstinence-only policy, unless they went through a long, complicated, messy public hearing process

Last June, youth activists in North Carolina helped pass a law that mandates schools to teach "all FDA-approved methods of contraception."  The law also requires schools to teach about STD's and sexual assault, and requires that schools provide opportunities for students and parents to have a dialogue about sexual health.  This is a GREAT opportunity for all schools in North Carolina to step up their sex education, and start teaching students the skills and information we need to stay safe.  

The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) is hosting trainings in public schools all around the state aimed at helping teachers and administrators implement a new curriculum or comprehensive sex education.  I was able to help out at one of these trainings, and I was so impressed!  About 30 teachers and administrators showed up, and  all were committed to helping teens learn about sexuality and sexual health.  We went over in detail what schools need to teach in the next school year in sex education, programs that are proven to work, funds that are available, and shared strategies for creating a safe space to talk about sex and sexual health.  

In the past, teachers were not allowed to talk honestly about sexual health.  One teacher said that she constantly heard rumors froms students about ways to stay "safe", such as washing or exercising after unprotected sex.  She could only talk about abstinence in the classroom, and could not encourage students who were sexually active to use protection.  Now, this is all changing, and it is really great news for NC's young people.  

I talked about why youth deserve accurate information and why youth should be involved in creating curriculum for sex education.  Young people both want and need this information in order to be safe. It is really important that we get accurate information from informed adults, because if we don’t, we will only get misinformation from the media, the internet, and our peers.  Unlike history or math, which are relatively uncontroversail topics, sex education involves our values, our social lives, and our personal health. These can be difficult topics to talk about, but there it is so important that we do.   

I was so happy to see 30 adults come together to learn about these issues, it is clear that they are committed to young peoples sexual reproductive health.  All schools in North Carolina have an unprecedented opportunity to overhaul sex education.  First, they are now required to by law to include more information.  Second, groups like the APPCNC are providing FREE trainings to schools and teachers so that everyone can learn how to better teach sex ed.  Third, the federal government is now funding comprehensive sex education under the new budget, and a lot of that money goes directly to local school boards.  

Youth and adults have worked side by side to help solve the problems of teen pregnancy and soaring STD rates, and we are making great progress.  I am confident that all NC public schools will put in place better, comprehensive sex ed programs and that we will see a decrease in teen pregnancy as teens learn valuable information about sexual health.