I’m Training Bristols and Levis

So I had to go to sex ed training today. And in our county, at my grade level, we have to describe sexual intercourse with regard to reproduction. But we’re not allowed to talk about anal or oral sex, masturbation, birth control, homosexuality, or abortion.

I am supposed to answer any questions about condoms (regarding HIV/STD/STI prevention) with something like, “Condoms can reduce the risk of transmission, but the only truly effective form of protection is waiting to have sex until you’re in a monogamous, faithful marriage.” Any questions regarding condoms as birth control are supposed to be unanswered. I can not provide any information about condoms, so I can only answer questions if they bring the background knowledge.

I understand that I am supposed to teach my students age-appropriate sex education. At this level this is mostly puberty. Fine. But this misleading of facts and birth control is indicative of how sex ed is taught in our country now—at all grade levels.

And for my grade specifically, the “monogamous, faithful marriage” bit makes me choke.

Obama won. Wonderful! Yet every anti-gay marriage measure passed. Why?

I am—by a scripted unit which I can not opt out of teaching—forced to teach my students that the only way to have a successful relationship is within the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. That’s bull.

I am teaching my students to wait until marriage to have sex. The average age of (first) marriage in the United States right now is the late 20s. How realistic is it to pound into their heads that they need to wait until they’re in their late 20s? Come on!

On top of it, they are only getting information about birth control in tenth grade (I think, it might be eighth) when at least one study shows that 40% of American teenagers first have sex by the age of 14. That is too late! (When I was teaching fifth grade several years ago, a student in another classroom dropped her purse one day and condoms spilled out. Suck it up, America, YOUR CHILDREN ARE HAVING SEX.) And I’m not even going into the fact that somehow “everything but” has become “not sex” and thus “not dangerous” in many teenagers’ minds.

A few days ago, my students and I were having a conversation about morals and jobs. We were talking about various values and how much you’d have to be paid to go against your values. I said, “I have to teach you things that I don’t necessarily agree with, but that’s part of my job.” I didn’t tell them what I meant. I meant this.