CHYA Implementation Will Save Inclusive Sex Education

It is time to tackle the taboo.


Lucy Hughitt

Lucy Law (12) speaks at the CUSD board meeting on Wednesday, November 14 to discuss ways they can improve sexual education in schools throughout Capistrano Unified School District.

Lucy Law, Co-Editor in Chief

As of now, sexual education among middle and high school students in CUSD is incomprehensive, with topics are unevenly covered, depending on who you get as a teacher. Many different online health course options further complicate understanding of basic information.

Sex is a stigmatized subject that is generally avoided, even though it is frequently discussed among students. Education on the topic, however, leads to better decisions, prevents teen pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections among teens.

The California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA), passed in 2015, requires age appropriate, all inclusive sex-ed, specifically adding LGBTQ topics into the curriculum. While the law in California requires sex-ed to include AIDS/HIV prevention, it does not require comprehensive sex-ed, like CHYA demands it should.

CUSD decided to draft its own, CHYA-based, curriculum instead of implementing CHYA itself. Planning a whole new curriculum takes time, and CUSD is currently meeting with students, parents and staff to receive input and make adjustments by spring 2019.

Part of CHYA is to teach abstinence as an option for birth control, and also teach about other contraceptives so that students can understand that there are other options available in order to stay safe when having sex. Students learn about abortion, and they are taught the meaning of sexual assault.

It didn’t go into depth about anything, especially when it came to having protected sex.

— Quinn Dohman

A problem that is brought up frequently when discussing CHYA with its opposers, is the fact that parents are uncomfortable with grasping the idea that their children can be independent, sexual beings.
Sexual education does not cause children to crave sex. It teaches life skills that children will take with them for the rest of their lives.

The whole point of CHYA is to establish healthy attitudes towards sex and relationships, the two being important factors in one’s life.
“We will be organizing a task force made up of students, health teachers, school nurses, parents, and administrators to identify lessons and activities that can be taught in high school health classes to ensure that students receive this valuable instruction,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Josh Hill.

Students that took health as an online course, were taught vague, easygoing lessons that failed to leave an impression.
“I took health online. It was so easy. It didn’t go into depth about anything, especially when it came to having protected sex. We even talked very little about STDs and how to prevent them. It was very easy to skip things and just not learn, and it definitely won’t help me later in life when I need it,” said junior, Quinn Dohman.

For students that choose to take health online, the course will also be updated to include the new lessons.

“I was taught what a condom was, but not about other types of birth control. Me and my friends had to do our own research about that. I want to go into medicine, so health was important for me, but a lot of my peers don’t remember anything because it isn’t portrayed as an important class, just something you need to graduate,” said senior, Autumn Ground.

Students don’t realize the importance of sex education until it’s too late to prevent the consequences of unprotected sex, or too late to acknowledge the signs of an abusive relationship.

According to Guttmacher Institute, as of 2015, fewer than six percent of LGBT students in the U.S. aged 13–21 reported that their health classes had included positive representations of LGBT-related topics.
More and more schools started focusing on how to say no to sex, rather than how to protect oneself during sex. Teaching an abstinence-only curriculum is withholding valuable information from impressionable students.

CHYA based lessons will keep all students informed and safe, which is the most important thing in a school environment, and in a personal life.

The fact that there are some parents against comprehensive sexual education, but strive to keep their children safe does not make sense. The two go hand in hand. A child is taught how to properly hold scissors because everyone uses scissors. Everyone eventually has sex so it should always be encouraged to learn the proper precautions.