My name is Isabel and I’m a senior at High Tech High Media Arts in San Diego, California. I’ve been a volunteer as well as an intern at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest for several months.
I’m here to talk about why sexual health education is important to me. Unlike my friends and peers, I wasn’t clueless. My mother talked to me - she told me the information I needed to know, but school was an entirely different story.
In middle school they had us carry around potato babies for three weeks. They didn’t really tell us why we were doing it and there weren’t any consequences if you did something wrong. My friends thought it was fun, but the whole point of the exercise went right through their minds without understanding – it was pointless – I was the only one that didn’t put my potato in my P.E. locker when I couldn’t find someone to babysit it.
By eighth grade they taught us a “watered down” form of sexual education. They talked about STDs and birth control but they didn’t tell us about anatomy. Half the people in class didn’t really know about vaginas, so when they talked about Nuvarings it was rather pointless.
I didn’t get sexual education again until just a few months ago. I was seventeen years old! It seemed incredible to me because a lot of high schoolers are already sexually active by then. So when we were taught about protecting ourselves, it was after the fact. People’s reactions consisted of things like, “I wish I had known that before,” or “They should have taught us that years ago.”
When I got to high school I expected to have sexual education in my first year as a freshman. Teenagers need to know everything so we can keep ourselves safe. But we didn’t get it. When entering my junior year, I was so disappointed by the lack of sexual education that I talked to my school’s dean and asked when they were going to teach it. But they didn’t think it was overly important. They had bigger things to deal with.
But it’s a BIG DEAL if you DON’T teach sexual education because an unintended pregnancy or an STD can change your life!
It turns out that my complaints did help begin a change. The school finally brought in Planned Parenthood. I had been an intern and a volunteer, so I knew what was going to be taught, and I loved seeing all my peers getting the information they needed.
But there is a lot more that needs to be added into general sexual education. We spent three days going over anatomy, birth control and how to contract or prevent STDs, but we need to know more. We need to know about negotiating relationships, healthy attitudes, behaviors and relationships and that information must be for all sexual orientations and genders.
Currently, my friends and peers get most of their sexual education from their parents – if their parents are willing to talk about it. If not, they don’t get anything. And don’t believe what you read. Teens are not going to the internet for information. They just don’t seek it out.
Teens need sexual education that will help us protect ourselves and keep us safe which is why I support AB 329!
Please join me and support this bill - share your story today!