Sam Bernstein staff writer
As the number of people coming out with stories about how they have been sexually taken advantage of grows, we as a place of learning have to realize that there’s only one solution to help ease this problem out of everyday life: to start consent education early.
Middle schoolers receive vague and inconclusive lessons at the end of their eighth grade year that don’t cover the true, moral repercussions of committing a sexual offense. In high school, there are health classes available for elective credits, but those classes were only made mandatory for the classes of 2020 and 2021. The only sexual education the classes of 2018 and 2019 will mandatorily receive in high school will come in their biology classes, which are commonly taken as freshman year science.
The classes of 2018 and 2019, as well as students who have already taken their required health class, wouldn’t benefit by taking a mandatory semester long sexual consent class, as that would hurt their current transcripts. However, they could benefit by a series of mandatory assembly periods that cover the subject of sexual misconduct. Students could hear from sexual assault victims who can teach students how awful the result of committing acts of sexual violence is for both the accuser and the predator. Students would also benefit from listening to a member of law enforcement who can teach the legality regarding sex. Students need trained voices rather than teachers whose main subject training isn’t in sexual health. Consent lessons can prevent students from mishandling new situations they find themselves in.
Incoming classes need sexual health classes. It’s truly about time administrators realize that students are going to have sex. Students, as they grow up, are naturally going to find themselves in sexual situations. If high school is truly a place that strives to encourage positive mental growth for students, it needs to teach students about more than just condoms. The school needs to remind students how to get legal consent before having sex. The school needs to teach what is legal and moral versus what is not legal and moral. It is the school’s responsibility to make up for conversations some parents neglect to have with their children.
Sexual harassment isn’t a rare offense. As the #MeToo movement has ramped up, hundreds of famous faces have have been exposed for committing heinous acts. Reputations of everyone from major movie executives to sitting U.S. senators have been thrashed. Sexual harassment happens every day, everywhere and in all walks of life. It happens on campuses around us. Local schools such as Malibu High School and Venice High School have had sexual harassment issues recently. Education needs to be in place before a similar incident happens on our campus. Sexual consent classes will not combat all future instances of sexual harassment. Monsters will be monsters. It is an unfortunate part of life. But sexual consent classes can prevent uncomfortable situations in students’ futures. It can stifle confusion about what is and is not acceptable in sexual and non-sexual situations, and it can teach students what to do if they find themselves in these awful situations.
Late teen years are for behavioral growth, as students prepare for life without the constant guidance from their parents or guardians. If this administration truly wants to send a responsible class off on their way to adulthood, we have to provide students all the proper training necessary.