For some time now there’s been an unwritten ironic joke about growing up in Nevada. Legalized prostitution? You bet. A resort industry predicated on selling itself through the objectification of women? Yup. But try to get the kids some comprehensive sex education and the opposition will make it rain! And by “rain,” I mean scream until the vein pops in their foreheads about corrupting our youth by teaching them the birds and the bees. (And by birds and bees, I mean penises and vaginas.)
During the last legislative session, we had our hopes dashed at getting a comprehensive sex education bill through. But as Gov. Brian Sandoval so cheerily told us in his State of the State, things are looking up in Nevada. And to that I say: So how about some quality, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex ed! (Whew! That’s a mouth full!) Considering that our state has one of the highest rates of unintended teen pregnancy and high school drop-out rates (56 percent!), abandoning the abstinence-only mantra feels like a much-needed life-preserver to our youth.
It’s about time, Nevada!
Thankfully, there’s a bill for that! Hello BDR#1034, sponsored and introduced by Assemblyman Bobzien! (You can track Bill Draft Requests on the Legislature’s website.) And just in time for Grass Roots Lobby Days!
Here’s what you need to know about this comprehensive sex education bill:
- It focuses on medically accurate as well as age-appropriate education. So, no, you’re Kindergartener is not going to be learning the Kama Sutra. But, at developmentally appropriate times, students will learn about anatomy, healthy relationships, pregnancy prevention, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- There’s a strong foundation for building healthy relationships to oneself and others. Understanding our own personal boundaries; learning that “no means no” as well as what consenting to sex means; defining intimate partner violence — of which our youth are particularly vulnerable — as well as rape. This may be the one and only time students learn what these things are, as well as what a healthy partnership looks and feels like.
- Inclusive scope on human sexuality and gender. It’s not comprehensive if it leaves out a part of the human experience. LGBTQI: Our kids should learn what each of those letters stands for. And nobody should put the “others” (i.e. non-hetero-normative kids) in a corner.
- Human trafficking. ‘Nuff said.
- Standardized curriculum and the administrative teeth to enforce it state-wide.
- Continuing education for teachers. None of us are born knowing it all.
So, let’s do this thing! Let’s end Nevada’s walk-of-shame on sex education!