Schools are the one institution in our society regularly attended by most young people-nearly 95% of all youth aged 5 to 17 years are enrolled in elementary or secondary schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 1993). Large percentage of youth attend schools for years before they encounter sexual risk-taking behaviors and a majority is enrolled at the time they initiate intercourse.
Just as youth in communities with high rates of poverty and social unawareness are more likely to become pregnant so youth in schools with high rates of poverty and social inadequacy are also more likely to become pregnant. In particular, when female teens attend schools with high percentages of dropout rates and with higher rates of school vandalism they are more likely to become pregnant. The lack of opportunity and greater disorganization in some minority communities in this country, teens in schools with higher percentages of minority students are also more likely to have higher pregnancy rates than teens in schools with lower percentages of minority(Manlove, 1998)..
Students in these studies, it is often difficult to distinguish the impact of school character from the impact of the community characteristics in which they reside. Social scientists and educators have suggested a wide variety of explanations for how schools reduce sexual risk-taking behavior. Some of their explanations have observed research supporting them, while others are credible, but lack supporting research. For example, educators concerned with adolescent sexual behavior have suggested that:
1. Schools structure students’ time and limit the amount of time that students can be alone and engage in sex. 2. Schools increase interaction with and attachment to adults who discourage risk-taking behavior of any kind (e.g., substance use, sexual risk-taking, or accident-producing behavior). More generally, they create an environment which discourages risk-taking. 3. Schools affect selection of friends and larger peer groups that are important to them. Because peer norms about sex and contraception significantly influence teens’ behavior, this impact on schools may be substantial.
However, just how schools affect selection of friends and peers is not clearly understood. 4. Schools can increase belief in the future and help youth plan for higher education and careers. Such planning may increase the motivation to avoid early childbearing. As noted above, multiple studies demonstrate that educational and career aspiration are related to use of contraception, pregnancy, and childbearing. 5. Schools can increase students’ self-esteem, sense of competence, and communication and refusal skills. These skills may help students avoid unprotected sex.
Despite the growing strength of the abstinence movement across the country, large majorities of adults favor SEX and AIDS education that includes discussions of condoms and contraceptives. For example, a 1998 poll of American adults found that 87% thought birth control should be covered (Rose & Gallup, 41-53), a 1998 poll found that 90% of adults thought condoms should be covered (Haffner & Wagoner, 22-23)and another 1999 poll found that 82% of adults believed all aspects of sex education including birth control and safer sex should be taught . (Hoff, Greene, McIntosh, Rawlings, & D’Amico, 2000).
Given both the need for effective educational programs and public support for such programs, schools have responded. According to a 1999 national survey of school teachers in grades 7 to 12, about 93% of their schools offered sexuality or HIV education (Darroch, Landry, & Singh, 204-211, 265). Of those schools teaching any topics in sexuality education, between 85% and 100% included instruction on consequences of teenage parenthood, STD, HIV/AIDS, abstinence, and ways to resist peer pressure to have sex. Between 75% and 85% of the schools provided instruction about puberty, dating, sexual abuse, and birth control methods. Teachers reported that the most important messages they wanted to convey were about abstinence and responsibility.
During the same year, survey results from a second survey of teachers and students in grades 7 to 12 were completed (Hoff et al., 2000). Their results were similar to the study above. They revealed that at least 75% of the students and similar percentages of the teachers indicated the following topics were covered in their instruction: basics of reproduction, STD and HIV/AIDS, abstinence, dealing with pressures to have sex, and birth control.
Despite the fact that most adolescents receive at least a minimum amount of sexuality or HIV education, it is widely believed by professionals in the field that most programs are short, are not comprehensive, fail to cover some important topics, and are less effective than they could be (Britton, deMauro, & Gambrell, 1-8; Darroch, Landry, & Singh, 2000; Gambrell & Haffner, 1993; Hoff, et al., 2000). For example, both surveys of teachers discussed above found that only half to two thirds of the teachers covered how to use condoms or how to get and use birth control. there is very little information about the extent to which sex- and HIV-education curriculum have been found to be effective and are implemented with fidelity in additional schools. However, considerable unreliable information indicates few schools implemented the lessons. There is a widely held belief that schools have established a foundation for programs, but that effective programs need to be implementing more broadly and with greater dedication throughout the country.
I want to take you back to when I was a teenager and how I personally can relate to the same choices and decisions our teenagers is face with today, in my personal experience; My boyfriend and I had our sex talk we decide I should go to my mother and talk to her about some form of birth control, her response was no. there was no explanation, no reasoning, and no questions ask about why I want to go on it. It was simply no! The end result I have 21yrs old. I’m not saying that we made the best choice because I still had an option to use a condom and contraceptives.
Today’s teenagers resources are plentiful, they can go to cook county hospital, they have Planned Parenthood and there local clinic in there neighborhood and now they have program that are being implemented in their high schools. Children, who do not have supported parents, can not talk to their parents. I want to bring in another aspect as to what can happen when you do not enforce communication about birth control, sex and consequences with your teenager, as you know I’m a grandmother I wouldn’t trade my granddaughter in for anything in the world. Not enforcing the use of contraceptive, I feel one of the reasons that I became a grandmother in my thirty. because I did not get as involved with my son as I should have after he inform me that he was sexually active.
The high Schools offer them open lines of communication and provide a safe atmosphere in which allows them to express their thought as to why they are there in the first place. It’s possible it can lead to single parenthood and a high drop out rate. Pregnancy among teenagers is continuing to rise despite a 40 million Government campaign to reduce the problem, while sexually transmitted diseases are reaching epidemic levels. The Royal College of Nursing revealed that increasing numbers of teenagers are indulging in sex and even taking part in orgies called ‘daisy chaining’.
The Department for Education and Skills has admitted that 66 out of 150 local education authorities have at least one ‘ school based health service’ in their area providing advice, access to or direct provision of contraception. You have statistics on birth control and personal experience wouldn’t you rather your teenager be knowledgeable than not?
Britton, P. O., DeMauro, D., & Gambrell, A. E. HIV/AIDS education: SIECUS study on HIV/AIDS education for schools finds states make progress, but work remains. SIECUS Report, 21(1), 1-8 (1992) Chandy, J. M., Harris, L., Blum, R. W., & Resnick, M. D. Female adolescents of alcohol misusers: Sexual behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 23, 695-709 (1994) Darroch, J. E., Landry, D. J., & Singh, S. Changing emphases in sexuality education in U.S. pubic secondary schools, 1988-1999. Family Planning Perspectives, 32, 204-211, 265 (2000) Gambrell, A. E., & Haffner, D. Unfinished business: A SIECUS assessment of state sexuality education programs. New York: SIECUS (1993) Haffner, D., & Wagoner, J. Vast majority of Americans support sexuality education. SIECUS Report, 27(6), 22-23 (1999) Hoff, T., Greene, L., McIntosh, M., Rawlings, N., & D’Amico, J. Sex education in America: A series of national surveys of students, parents, teachers, and Jones 8
principals. Menlo Park, CA: The Kaiser Family Foundation. (2000) Manlove, J. The influence of high school dropout and school disengagement on the risk of school-age pregnancy. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 8, 187-220 (1998) National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics, 1993. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (1993) Rose, L. C., & Gallup, A. M. The 30th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools. Phi Delta Kappan, Sept., 41-53 (1998, September) Singh S. Adolescent pregnancy in the United States: An interstate analysis. Family Planning Perspectives, 18, 210-220 (1986)
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