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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Over the past few days, the Alligator has featured columns about virginity - virginity in terms of sex and adulthood. Let's address birth control. Let's discuss specifics of the pre-nasty. There's no virginal talk in this column.

Talk is cheap anyway - especially if you're 11 years old and reaching your sexual peak.

No typo there.

A video Tuesday on CNN.com reported on a community in Maine that voted Wednesday night whether it should include contraceptive services in the middle-school health care plan. If allowed, it would be the kids' choices to inform their parents if they desire to use contraception.

I wish my town meetings were this exciting.

Of course, the Family Research Council, a group that "champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization," was all over this. A CNN reporter interviewed a representative of the council who found the situation "tragic" and said it would promote promiscuity in children. Offering contraceptives to middle school kids is a "wrong-minded" solution, according to the council.

Initially, I found myself, much to my surprise, agreeing with the Judeo-Christian-based organization. The CNN reporter put it best when he asked, "Isn't this crisis time? Shouldn't we step in?"

After all, you don't turn a fat kid loose at a Sizzler buffet, and you don't give sex-crazed preteens tools to further their 50 Cent-music-video fantasies.

As I expressed my disgust to my roommate, she pointed out one major point I had completely missed: With or without contraception, these middle school kids are still having sex.

Kids who just mastered spelling three-syllable words should not be moving on to slightly more complicated tasks like sexual intercourse. It's more than shocking. It's frightening. It's disturbing. It's dangerous.

But it's still the truth.

I know this because I was surrounded by kids engaging in sexual activity during my time in middle school. I guarantee they weren't practicing safe sex or taking contraception. It's hard to practice safe sex when you're having it in a bathroom.

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So, yes, biased CNN reporter, we are in a crisis. We have been in a crisis. But it's not preteens having sex - it's ignorance.

Kids should not be having sex at such a young age. However, it happens, and we need to address the issue by educating children instead of taking away supplies helping those already at risk.

Or not. If we won't provide contraception, maybe we should just take away vitamins, too. No more Centrum - it prevents people from practicing healthful habits.

The sex-education system in America is severely lacking. I received very little in my school. Some schools receive better sex education than others, but we need to bridge the sex-education gap.

Sex education is also a parental responsibility. We are the future parents, and we need to recognize our future responsibilities. What we don't know can hurt us and our children.

The Maine middle sSchool needs this change. And the nation's attitude toward contraception and sex education needs to change. Hopefully schools will educate students instead of handing out birth control like a Pez dispenser.

If all else fails, we can just fall back on the abstinence-only plan. It's obviously worked so well.

Stephanie Rosenberg is a junior majoring in journalism. Her column appears on Thursdays.

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