Image from http://amplifyyourvoice.org
Louisiana is home to the extravagant Mardi Gras celebrations. Gold and purple beads hang around individuals necks. Detailed masks decorated with sparkles and feathers conceal the identity of tourists from around the world. This is what some people picture when Louisiana is mentioned.
According to Buzzfeed, “Louisiana’s middle and high schoolers have some of the country’s highest rates of pregnancy, HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). It isn’t astonishing because of the lack of sex education in Louisiana schools. The state doesn’t require sex ed and local schools boards can choose to teach or not teach sex ed. Additionally, they have the power to decide what topics will be covered based on grade level. If a school decides to teach sex ed, abstinence must be covered in order to teach kids that this is the only effective option to prevent unplanned pregnancy or STDs. There is no requirement to educate students about STDs, HIV, or contraceptives.
In May, the Louisiana House voted whether or not to require sex education for seventh to twelfth grade public school students. The bid was crushed by a vote of 33-59. The bill would have taught students about contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Similar bills have failed because of the debate from groups like the Louisiana Family Forum. There is a law that prevents anonymous surveys, like the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) from asking students about their sex lives. Without this information, it’s difficult for health care providers to find the answer. Other states have created policies based on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
These factors leave students misinformed about important topics that should be covered in order to educate them about the precautions of having sex.