Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Students voice concerns about sex ed.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

On Feb,16,, hundreds of Massachusetts high school students gathered together in Boston’s City Council building to share their concerns with sexual education in their schools.

That day, students engaged in a two-hour hearing during which they discussed their desire for more sexual education and greater condom accessibility. According to several students at the hearing, the students wanted adults to listen to their suggestions for in-depth education on sex that involves information that teaches students more than how not to be sexual human beings.

The students involved in this hearing said that they need a greater knowledge of sex because “sexual identity is part of their lives.”

Hope Keenan, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, agreed with the students. “I think sex ed. should be more up-to-date with how teens and young adults interact with each other sexually rather than teaching older ideas about sex, because teenagers these days are going to have sex even if teachers tell them not to,” she said,

The students voiced that it is important to many students to learn about all aspects of sex, transmitted diseases and protection. The students believe that only teaching them the idea that ”sex is bad,” or having abstinence-only sexual education, does a disservice to young students embarking on adulthood.

Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, an associate professor in UMass’ public health department said, “I fully support comprehensive sex ed. and condom distribution.”

John Clark, a senior, agreed with her and emphasized the importance of being taught safe sex.

“I think it’s really important that highschoolers learn about protective sex. If someone were to become pregnant in high school their lives can come to a standstill,” Clark said.

Many adults who were at the hearing seemed skeptical about changing the sexual education programs or distributing condoms to teenagers because of their concern with teens’ hookup culture. However, some believe it may be necessary based on their views of the current culture among teenagers.

“The media has a huge influence on the image of teen moms being “cool,” because of all the shows about teenage pregnancy these days and sex education is necessary for this very reason,” said a senior at UMass who wished to remain anonymous.  

Haleigh Finch can be reached at [email protected].

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  • A

    AnonymousMar 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    The college ‘hookup culture’ is now in the high schools.

    We really need to come back from the expectation that a woman must first sleep with a guy before he can have any interest in any form of relationship with her — I don’t know how we do this but we kinda have to go back to the era of the woman being of interest to the man even though he hasn’t slept with her yet — on some level, we gotta do this!

  • N

    NickFeb 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Interested in the debate on sex education in public schools? Tune into the PBS show Basic Black for a LIVE discussion on Friday, February 25th at 7:30 pm EST on channel 2 in Boston and at, where you can also join a live chat.

  • T

    thezakFeb 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

    How widespread is the strategy?… of
    “BEFORE we have sex let’s get tested TOGETHER
    for A VARIETY of STDs.”

    Do sexual health checkups reduce the ambiguity?…
    Can sexual health checkups be like anything else POTENTIAL sex
    partners do together?…

    If you needed surgery would you want the surgeon to wash
    before operating?…

    If you needed a blood transfusion would you want the blood tested
    before or after the transfusion?…

    see also

    “tested together” alerts