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To Be or Not to Be?
Acts of Deviance
Kimberly Brittian |

Many parents struggle to discuss sex with their children and depend on other sources to make up for their lack of communication skills. Our community conversation about sex education in schools provokes many questions: What kind of education is most appropriate for our young people? How can we respect the values that families instill? What will keep our young people safe from disease and unintended pregnancy? How can we support our young people to make healthy decisions about their lives? Some may even ask if the schools pushing students towards sex or are they protecting them from it? In chapter six we discussed the different acts of deviant behavior, the article states how sexual educational classes are passing out condoms whether male or female and showing the students how to use them. Is this an act of deviant behavior? This can be considered deviant because of the mechanism of social control that is used. Do you think that gonorrhea, chlamydia, aids/hiv, and the risk of getting pregnant will stop these children from having sex, better yet having unprotected sex? In my opinion…no, we discussed in class how with every generation, children take a step over boundaries that are being set by parents. They are too busy trying to be best friend instead of parents. They think that if they fit in with their children and said yes to everything that their relationship would go smoother, there would be more control, and a better understanding between each other. I feel as if that is a good thing to be involved with their child’s lifestyle and activities, but there has to be a point where they draw the line and say enough is enough. Parents get a feeling that their students are being taught the proper way to have sex instead of teaching abstinence. By giving away condoms parents feel that schools are giving the okay to have sex as long as you’re protected. Parents have to realize that their children will have sex whether they are an early or a late bloomer and there is no way around the subject matter. The idea is for sex-educational classes to tackle these problems head-on. It will include candid discussions about puberty, pregnancy, birth control and the risks of unprotected sex.
With abstinence students are being told to sign a sheet of paper and promising to resist temptation, when there are so many beautiful things surrounding them like the music, movies, peer pressure, love, books, and opposite/same sex pushing them towards having sex. In middle school and high school children are at their development stage where they follow what they see and learn things about themselves that they never knew before and start to get a sense of who and what they want to be in life. They set foot in the trial and error period, where they learn to make mistakes and make life making decisions and say no to peer pressure and start to learn their true moral values. Young people are visible to a wide range of attitudes and beliefs in relation to sex and sexuality. These sometimes appear contradictory and confusing. For example, some health messages emphasize the risks and dangers associated with sexual activity and some media coverage promotes the idea that being sexually active makes a person more attractive and mature. Because sex and sexuality are sensitive subjects, young people and sex educators can have strong views on what attitudes people should hold. Some young people are very interested in the moral and cultural structure that binds sex and sexuality. They often welcome opportunities to talk about issues where people have strong views, like abortion, sex before marriage, lesbian and gay issues and birth control.
Large percentages of parents agreed that young people should receive broad and medically accurate sex education in school (Melnick). They believe this education should be provided no later than middle-school, and that it should be presented in development.
Works Cited

Meredith Melnick. "New York City Mandates Sex Ed Classes for Public School Kids –
TIME Healthland." TIME Healthland - A Healthy Balance of the Mind, Body and Spirit. 10 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <>.

New York City Mandates Sex Ed Classes for Public School Kids
When New York City's public school students return to classes this year, there will be a new addition to their curriculum: sex education classes that will include instruction on how to use a condom and strategies for resisting pressure to have sex.
On Tuesday, the city announced a new mandate requiring sex-ed classes for middle and high school students. The program is part of a larger city measure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's $127 million Young Men's Initiative, announced on Aug. 4, which seeks to improve the lives of young black and Latino men in the city (the initiative will also focus on job training, counseling for criminal offenders, and fatherhood classes).
City officials hope that the sex-ed mandate will reach teens of color, who have disproportionately high rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). "It's obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls," Linda I. Gibbs, the New York City's deputy mayor for health and human services told the New York Times. "But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex."
MORE: Teen Moms Are Taking over Reality TV. Is That a Good Thing?
Indeed, according to the latest data [PDF] from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the five city neighborhoods with the highest rates of chlamydia among teens aged 15 to 19 were also some of the poorest: Crotona, Central Harlem, Mott Haven, the Northeast Bronx and East Harlem. Neighborhoods with the highest rates of gonorrhea, another common STI, were similarly disadvantaged.
Statistics on teen pregnancy [PDF] show that rates of unplanned births in 2009 were also highest in the city's poorest neighborhoods, such as Mott Haven, East New York and Brownsville. Nearly 12% of all babies born in the Bronx that year were born to teen mothers, compared with 5.2% in wealthier Manhattan. Citywide, 85% of new teen mothers were on Medicaid at the time of birth.
The idea is for the new sex-ed classes to tackle these problems head-on. They will include candid discussions about puberty, pregnancy, birth control and the risks of unprotected sex, city officials said; parents will have to option to keep their children out of classes on birth control.
The overarching agenda is to get teens to wait to have sex until they are older. According to the Times:

The classes would include a mix of lectures, perhaps using statistics to show that while middle school students might brag about having sex, not many of them actually do; group discussions about, for example, why teenagers are often resistant to condoms; and role-playing exercises that might include techniques to fend off unwanted advances.

Until now, teaching sex ed has been voluntary for New York City public schools (the state mandates only one semester of health education classes); about 64% of the city's middle schools and somewhere between 40% and 80% of high schools currently teach a sex education curriculum. Nationwide, about 25% of teens learn about abstinence in schools, without education about other methods of birth control, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Local media reports suggest that New York parents are having mixed reactions to the city's new mandate. Some say the city is intruding on issues that are better handled by parents at home. Others say that city schools should focus on subjects other than sex.

But parents are not blind to the need for more education to keep kids safe. "Girls who are younger and younger are getting pregnant. I've seen the boyfriends, the kissing and the drama. I want my daughter to know right from wrong. The more knowledge the better," Mariana Sanoh, a Brooklyn parent of a 12-year-old, told the New York Daily News.
Meredith Melnick is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeredithCM. You can also continue the discussion on TIME's Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.
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