Activism paper

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Activism paper

  1. 1. Running head: ACTIVISMSexual Education in VirginiaKristen Casey BurrittUIN 00547741ODU On CampusSubmitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements in the courseNURS 471: Community Health Nursing IIin the School of NursingOld Dominion UniversityNORFOLK, VIRGINIASpring, 2011<br />Sexual Education in Virginia<br />There are many topics that nurses are able to speak up about and one such topic is healthcare legislation. As nurses are the liaison between physicians and medical officials and the patients, they are in the best position to speak for both sides of the issues. Passion about an issue is the best motivator to create change. <br />Senate bill 967 is a revision bill for an already existing bill about sexuality education in Virginia. The new bill involves adding a revision that states that all Virginia sexual education must be consistent with principles set forth by the Board of Education and the most important part is that the revision requires that all sexual education program curriculum must be based on research evidence and be medically accurate. Medically accurate is defined as being supported by peer-reviewed research based on the scientific method. The information must also be viewed as accurate objective and should be published in appropriate literature (Virginia Senate, 2011). <br />There are two general types of sexual education such as abstinence-only education (AOE) and comprehensive sexual education (CSE). AOE involves only teaching teenagers how to say no to sexual advances and peer pressure towards substances abuse or illegal acts. CSE includes abstinence education in addition to the effectiveness of contraception and all options that a person has if an unintended pregnancy.<br />Many studies have been conducted involving the effectiveness of different types of sexual education. Because the federal government gives funding to abstinence-only educational programs that meet certain criteria, such as the benefits of abstinence as well as the detrimental effects of not remaining so, comprehensive sexual education does not receive much of the necessary financial support it needs to thrive (Epstein & Krowchuk, 2006). <br />A survey was conducted to determine the preferences of parents with school-age children as these are the true stake-holders in this conversation. The study determined that the majority of respondents claimed preference for both abstinence and techniques for pregnancy prevention (CSE) while less than ten percent preferred only AOE and less than one percent believed sexual education should not occur in schools. Most participants also believed that all subjects should be included in the education, most of which should begin in middle school. Pubertal development and anatomy should begin in elementary school when it would be most useful to the students and more controversial topics such as abortion should begin at a later age, such as high school. CSE was believed to be somewhat effective at preventing HIV/AIDS and pregnancy, delaying age of first intercourse and using some form of contraception. Those who did not believe this were split between it being very or not effective. Conversely, AOE respondents were split between being very and not effective and most strongly agreed that AOE decreased the likelihood that teenagers will use contraception when they begin having sex (Eisenberg, Bernat, Bearinger & Resnick, 2008). <br />It is a general belief that certain populations are more vulnerable to sexual promiscuity and it has been showed that this is the case. Older black teens from a lower income and non-intact family from an urban area were more likely to have had vaginal sex before the time of the survey as well as being more likely to report pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. In these same categories, CSE was shown to be associated with a reduced rate of vaginal intercourse and those with this education were significantly less likely to report having a teen pregnancy when compared to both no education and AOE. The difference between CSE and AOE in relation to teen pregnancy was nearly fifty percent (Kohler, Manhart & Lafferty, 2008). <br />The profession most appropriate to teaching students about sexual education is the nurses working at the school. This position is available for all student health questions so it seems that they have the most convenient access and the vast knowledge required to teach. A study was performed with school nurses who felt that CSE should most definitely be taught in schools. The problem, as the nurses see it, is that they are being too controlled in what they are allowed to teach and expose the children to. The leaders of the school and the teachers whose classes are being taught are putting pressure on the school nurse causing the nurse to feel as if they are not able to teach the proper information. According to this, some teachers would remain in the classroom so as to stop the nurse from teaching a certain topic while others would opportunely walk through the classroom or sit outside to do the same. This discouraged the nurses from teaching what they feel they should be teaching for fear of punishment (Hayter, Piercy, Massey & Gregory, 2008). <br />The importance of students receiving a proper and comprehensive sexual education is shown in the study by Markham and associates. This study involves surveying middle school students, focusing mostly on seventh-graders, to determine their sexual practices. The authors learned that many seventh graders engaged in oral or anal intercourse because they believed it was less risky and would not lead to sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. They also learned that if sex was initiated at fourteen or younger, they were more likely to have multiple partners in their lifetime and more often. They are more likely to use alcohol and drugs before engaging sexual intercourse and engaging in it without a condom. Nearly thirty percent of the surveys eleven to thirteen year olds reported having sex while thirteen percent reported three or more partners. Many boys reported having their first sexual initiation before age eleven. These preteens need proper education about the risks of every type of sexual education so that they can protect themselves (Markham, Peskin, Addy, Baumler, Tortolero, 2009). <br />The need for an honest, medically-accurate and age-appropriate CSE program is huge. Students need to know the risks that they face when engaging in sex especially if they are not using protection. Almost all people see the biggest risk of sexual intercourse as an unintended pregnancy and while teens may be worried about this, they are not concerned with or preventing sexual transmitted diseases and they need real information given in an honest and straight-forward way so that they may be protected. <br />References<br />Epstein, J., & Rickenback, C. F. (2006). 2nd opinion: Does abstinence-only education put adolescents at risk? Maternal Child Nursing, 31(6), 348-349.<br />Eisenberg, M. E., Bernat, D. H., Bearinger, L. H., & Resnick, M. D. (2008). Support for comprehensive sexuality education: Perspectives from parents of school-age youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42, 352-359.<br />Hayter, M., Piercy, H., Massey, M.-T., & Gregory, T. (2008). School nurses and sex education: Surveillance and disciplinary practicies in primary schools. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61(3), 273-281.<br />Kohler, P. K., Manhart, L. E., & Lafferty, W. E. (2008). Abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education and the initation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42, 344-351.<br />Markham, C.M., Peskin, M.F., Addy, R.C., Baumler, E.R., and Tortolero, S.R. (2009). Patterns of vaginal, oral, and anal sexual intercourse in an urban seventh-grade population. Journal of School Health, 79(4), 192-200. <br />Virginia Senate (2011). Virginia legislative information systems. Retrieved 2 February from http://www.lis.virginia.gov. <br />Honor Code<br />I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this examination (or other material turned in for credit) nor do I have reason to believe that anyone else has.Signature: __Kristen Casey Burritt__<br />

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