Sex ed situation

A look into the sex education at NPHS.

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Sex ed situation

Shown is a silhouette of a couple at NPHS holding each other

Shown is a silhouette of a couple at NPHS holding each other

Lori Larson

Shown is a silhouette of a couple at NPHS holding each other

Lori Larson

Lori Larson

Shown is a silhouette of a couple at NPHS holding each other

Sierra Winder, Staff Writer

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Half of all teenagers are sexually active, but only a third of them use birth control according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Platte Valley Women’s Healthcare  provider Dr. Kelly Hasenauer said information is power. “I think things would change if we had more thorough health education,” she said. 

Students of North Platte Public Schools are shown videos about their changing bodies in elementary school. Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning Vikki Carlson said there is not an individualized sex education class but the learning standards dictate that at-risk behavior topics are covered. “Your wellness, your mental health, and making good choices are components of those classes,” she said. “We just don’t have one particular course that covers sexual education.”

I think the school has done an inadequate job on providing a full scope of information to students”

— Elizabeth Lagan, People's Family Health educator

Students wish that they had learned more in their health classes at NPHS. “We have one health class, but really they don’t teach you about sex education, I think that they could make it more important, especially for freshman going into high school,” junior Shelby Yoshida said.

People’s Family Health Services is a Title X agency who, according to their website, say their mission is to reduce abortion rates in the state of Nebraska through the provision of safe, effective contraception methods and client education on pregnancy prevention.

People’s Family Health community educator Elizabeth Lagan said students need more education.  “I think the school has done an inadequate job on providing a full scope of information to students,” she said.

Not all students think it’s the school’s responsibility to teach sex ed. “It should be something you figure out on your own,” said senior Eli Cox.

Teen birth rates have gone down 55 percent and fewer teen pregnancies are being reported according to HHS. Lagan credits education for the decrease. “As we implement more information about birth control…we see the population of unplanned pregnancies drop,” Lagan said.

Pregnancy counseling center, the Women’s Resource Center, believes that people need to be more aware and educated. “They think ‘it’s not going to happen to me,”  office assistant Linda Mooney said. 

Sex education is not limited to pregnancy scenarios. Lifelong sexual health is a concern too. “Sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] are a much more scary thing than pregnancy,” Women’s Resource Center office manager Barb Ingle said. “Sexual exposure is hitting early ages, and it is so much more out there,” Ingle said.

Currently sex education falls under the physical and health education state standards.  Carlson said Nebraska is discussing separating those standards in the future. In the meantime, if teens want more information, places like People’s Family Health, which provides reproductive health services at a low or free cost, are just some examples of the places people can go to get educated. “The more people know…the better off people will be,” Hasenhauer said.

North Platte High School students do not have to solely rely on their school for information, those resources are offered for both males and females through their family doctor, Family Planning Services and the Women’s Resource Center.

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