It’s a little unusual for colleges and universities to teach students about the birds and the bees, by which I mean sexual intercourse and human reproduction. One would assume that 18- and 19-year-old students would already know what happens when a penis goes inside a vagina and how to prevent babies from emerging, but some colleges are finding that is not the case, and now colleges in Arkansas are teaching kids sex ed, because it’s better late than never.
According to NPR, Arkansas has the highest rate of births to teenagers in the country. It’s also a state that has proven to be a big fan of abstinence-only sex education, which does not do much to teach teenagers how not to get pregnant. But in spite of those numbers, it’s not too late to change things. Most of the teen pregnancies in the U.S., and in Arkansas, are actually to 18- and 19-year-olds. If the state can’t get legislation through to teach kids about sex and birth control earlier, at least they can get to some of them in college.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle in Arkansas are apparently OK with teaching college students about sex, because last year the Arkansas Legislature passed a law that instructed public colleges and universities in Arkansas to teach students about preventing unplanned pregnancies. So this year freshmen at Arkansas Tech University were ushered into a room and show a video about what happens when you get pregnant by accident.
It sounds like it was a real eye-opener for a lot of kids, too. Babies are hard. The young parents in the video talked about losing friends, the sudden excess of worry and responsibility, and losing one’s social activities to endless nights watching Dora. (I’d have said Caillou, if I really wanted to scare them.)
This makes a lot of sense. A lot of these students are coming from schools that taught abstinence-only sex education, if they tackled sex education at all. You’d think they’d know about sex anyway, but a lot of them don’t know as much as they think they do. And on top of all that, they’re teenagers, and they tend to think this stuff won’t happen to them, even when they do know it happens to people.
The sex ed lessons for college students are good, but it’s definitely a case of “better late than never,” but this is still very, very late to be covering this. Several of the students who just went through the orientation said the same thing.
“It would have been better to have a class earlier, during our middle school,” said one freshman.
“I think there was anywhere between five to 10 girls in my grade that got pregnant,” another said to NPR. “I remember in eighth grade there was a girl that never made it to ninth grade because she got pregnant.”
When it comes to sex ed and birth control training, it’s true that late is better than never, but this is still really, really late. Kids need these lessons in middle school or high school.