Op-Ed: Seniors learn to teach sex-ed to peers

Natalie Johnson 
Graphics Editor

Webster’s sexual education program is exclusive to heterosexuality. LGBTQ identifying students do not receive sexual education through school.

Seniors Patrick Schranck, Jane Benkelman and Annie Buck, leaders in the Feminist Coalition, are participating in the Peer-to-Peer Education Program through Planned Parenthood, advocating for the importance of inclusive sexual health education.
Through the 36-hour program, the seniors will become qualified to teach sexual health to elementary, middle school and high school students.

The program teaches topics like prevention and treatment of STIs, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and overall provides students with a deeper understanding of sexual health.

“It’s a real thing. Sometimes we don’t recognize it’s happening,” Benkelman said, pointing out that the current education program tends to “dance around,” as she said, the topic of sex.

Benkelman said the topic needs to be addressed because there are negative repercussions in neglecting to properly teach sex-ed.
Schranck would change Webster’s current education program from “sex negative” and heavily relying on the option of abstinence, to “sex positive, and LGBTQ inclusive,” a community Schranck considers to have been “severely under served by sex education in this country.”
He also thinks the program should offer more options to safe sexual health regarding contraception.

Buck said high school is an especially important time for education on sex health because “people are still figuring out their sexualtiy and finding who they are.”

Webster’s current sex ed program is very “one sided,” as Buck said.
Benkelman described the lack of all sexual orientations being represented in Webster’s current sex ed program as “discriminatory.”
The program teaches a variety of methods to practice safe sex and healthy reproductive behavior. It also discusses consent in sexual relations.

Benkelman said a more effective way of teaching sexual health is from peer to peer, pointing out students might feel more comfortable and be more attentive when hearing from peers.

The seniors have discussed and would welcome the opportunity to visit Hixson Middle School and educate students there.
To serve the entire community, sexual education should be inclusive to all genders, sexual orientations and should offer students alternatives to abstinence. Students should be provided with accurate, applicable information useful to the realities of sexual relationships.

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