Sex education may provide more updated guide

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Sex education may provide a more updated, comprehensive guide that will include accurate information on HIV and LGBT-related issues. After Nebraska State Senator Ken Harr introduced LB619, the state may possibly update the public school’s sexual education with medically accurate standards.

During the hearing, Nebraska resident Janine Brignola gave her own personal testimony, as she wasn’t fully educated or aware of the HIV virus during her high school years. As someone who is HIV-positive, she advocated for a fully comprehensive guide on sex education.

“I was naive and thought Nebraska was not a place that it could happen,” Brignola said during her testimony.

During her high school years, HIV was described as a “dirty disease that will kill her” and “only promiscuous people, junkies or hookers get the disease.”

“We support the bill as it’s very important,” Advocate for Youth’s strategies manager Diana Rhodes told 429Magazine. “Young people have the right to lead healthy lives as Nebraska’s State Department of Education doesn’t require any comprehensive bill. It’s a step in the right direction with these guidelines.”

According to a 2013 report from the Guttmacher Institute, 20 states mandate sex education with the disease most concentrated in the southern states with a lack of education.

States like Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana are not mandated to provide accurate medical information on the disease.

After the introduction of the disease in the 1980s, the need for a proper sex education was delayed after George Bush prompted abstinence-only programs.

If approved, the bill would teach young adults that it is wrong to exploit another person, avoid pressure in engaging sex, and recognize the inappropriateness of unwanted advances.

Groups like Nebraska’s Family First argued against the bill that it would promote gratuitous, recreational sex” and that it would “undermine parental authority by dictating what the children should hear.”

“We must teach our children the ideal of abstinence until marriage, because that is the best plan for human beings,” said Former Public School Counselor Maris Bentley of Omaha during the hearing.

They go on to state that it would specifically sexual advances and avoid bias against others on basis of gender identification and sexual orientation.

According to the Advocates for Youth, there is no substantial evidence that abstinence-only programs are effective. In the bill, Rhodes states that both abstinence and contraception are discussed in the bill and aims to delay sexual activity amongst youth.

Currently, California and Louisiana are the only two states to forbid religion promotion in sex education.

During the hearing, Harr said that the bill would allow parents to review the curriculum and that they would have the option to pull the kids out of the class with a guardian’s permission. Harr also mentioned said “2,300 Nebraskans age 19 and younger contracted sexually transmitted infections in 2011.”

The CDC reported that half of HIV-positive people aren’t aware within the demographic age of 13 to 24. The bill would have schools choose from a list of curricula provided by the state Department of Education.

According to a report by Advocates for Youth, 70 percent of women and 62 percent of men have initiated sex by age 18 in the U.S.

“As a local controlled state organization, we have our own policy and we take no specific position on the bill,” Nebraska’s State Department of Education Spokesperson Betty Vandeventer told 429Magazine on the issue, as they remain neutral.

The state department does not require public schools to include information about HIV, sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy prevention in the sex education curriculum.

According to the current criteria, the teachings includes and varies from contraception, abstinence, family communication, healthy decision making, avoid physical coercion, sex before marriage, negative outcomes of teen sex and learning about sexual orientation.

“LGBT-related sex topics in the bill is not specifically stated but the clause does not promote bias based on race, ethnic or cultural background, sexual orientation or gender or gender identity, sexually active students and students with disabilities,” said Rhodes.

Sex education for LGBT is non-existent in the curriculum, but are in desperate need of positive sex role models as few only get information through porn or sex itself.

The opposition has argued against the bill in concerns with LGBT youths.

“In other words, instruction and materials about so-called safe sex methods for heterosexuals must also include instruction and materials for homosexuals, or for that matter, any other individuals who identify themselves with any number of other sexual variations,” Bentley said.

Currently, California and Louisiana are the only two states to forbid religion promotion in sex education.

When asked for a statement, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) could not comment on the pending legislation.

429Magazine

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