The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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Aug 13, 2020

Sex Education by Savyon Tiller

Hi! My name is Savyon Tiller, now a senior student in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. As part of the Be Project teen leadership group this summer, I learned about the upcoming revisions to our Health TEKS (standards for health education). The sex education taught in schools is downright outdated and we’ve been taught either inaccurate information or information so vague we don’t even fully understand what it means.

My school district started to teach us some sex ed back in 5th grade as part of PE. It was mainly about how babies are made. It taught us the word consent but not what it means and how it works. When I moved on to 6th and 7th grade, my friends began talking about sexual stuff more than we used to, yet the only thing the school talked about was sexting and that it's bad. They never talked more about puberty and hormones in your body, or healthy relationships. In my school, three students were expelled for committing sexual acts at school but nothing was discussed with the school as a whole. Stuff like that happens more and more, like teen pregnancy and HIV, not only in my high school, but most high schools in Texas.

High school students’ problems don’t come from only sexual situations either--it's also the whole situation of a healthy relationship and how to avoid a toxic relationship that can lead to rape and abuse. I know people who were in an unhealthy relationship and didn’t get out until after it had already turned abusive. According to the most recent Crime in Texas report (2018) from the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 19,816 sexual assault incidences in a single year.

In a world of media where we are constantly misinformed about relationships and consent, why haven't our schools given us the information we need instead of just saying sex is bad? When we aren’t given information from credible sources, we turn to the internet and other media for sex education. You wouldn't believe how many sexual predators harass and take advantage of kids online. If we had education about relationships, sex, and consent thoughout all of middle school and high school, there might not be as many of these problems in the first place.

We must include medically-accurate and age-appropriate abstinence-plus sex education in the Health TEKS update. I respectfully urge readers to contact the State Board of Education and request that they include standards in the Health TEKS that are medically-accurate and data-driven and that provide students with the tools they need to be healthy and safe.

If we and the future generations don’t know what healthy relationships are supposed to look like, how do we prevent unhealthy/abusive relationships from happening?

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