Birds, Bees? Yes, Please.

Makenna Kramer, Feature Editor

While Convent & Stuart Hall boasts incredible opportunities like the International Baccalaureate program and a trip to Costa Rica, students do not have the opportunity to take any sex education classes. 

This reality is incompatible with the school’s founding principles of encouraging a student’s “total development.” The school should adopt the state’s guidelines for public schools, and move immediately to implement a comprehensive sex education program, for the safety and full education of all students. 

Sexual health education mandates have existed in California public schools since the early 2000s, with the most recent California Healthy Youth Act of 2016 requiring schools to educate students on topics including sexuality, birth control and STD prevention at least once during their high school years. 

These efforts have been overwhelmingly effective, with statewide teen birth rates falling 83% between 1991 and 2019, according to Power to Decide. Broader studies have found that educating 15- to 19-year-olds using a curriculum similar to the California mandated one, reduces rates of teen pregnancy, intimate partner violence and promotes healthy relationships.

Comprehensive sex education programs benefit LGBTQ+ students and those living in low-income communities at higher rates, meaning implementing a sex education program will make the school a safer and more inclusive environment. It will also foster classroom dialogue around important societal issues like abortion access and public health measures. 

While some argue sex education should be taught by parents, this mindset is dangerous. Individuals who do not have an adequate understanding of safe sexual practices and consent are a danger to themselves and all in the community. Teens and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any age group, according to the CDC.

Teaching students objective information in an academic setting is not also mutually exclusive with conversations around sexual morality in the home, and in fact, the in-the-home-only mentality can be worrisome because many parents decide not to discuss sexual health topics with their children at all due to “feelings of embarrassment and discomfort,” according to a Health Education Journal study. This can result in teens looking online for information, where they may encounter misinformation and biased sources.

High schools educate students in their most critical years, preparing them for adulthood. By assuring all Convent & Stuart Hall graduates enter that period with a comprehensive knowledge of sexual health, the school will better meet its promise to educate the mind, heart and body of all who step through its doors.