Youth News Team: LGBT-inclusive sex education

    I think truly inclusive sex education must address sexuality in a way that does not create negative impressions and harmful phobias. Like math and English, inclusive sex education should be mandatory.

    As part of the Youth News Team partnership hosted by PSTV (the Philadelphia School District’s education channel) and WHYY, a team of five students from Saul High School in Philadelphia produced a set of video news reports on topics of interest to them during the week of the Democratic National Convention. NewsWorks presents those videos here with the students’ reflections on their experiences.

    I am Tisharah Morton, a sophomore at W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences. When I learned I could pick any topic for my news project, I wanted to research a subject that would address an important teen issue. I chose inclusive sex education.

    When putting together my list of interview questions, it was important for me to make sure the LGBT community was directly addressed. While researching the LGBT component, I directly contacted a number of key organizations advocating sex education. I got a lot of leads and great advice to build my news report. My online research and phone outreach took me to Planned Parenthood; the Mazzoni Center; the DNC LGBT Caucus, where I interviewed sex educators, pro-choice advocates; protesters; a Reverend Doctor; a marriage equality legend; and a reality TV model. Speaking to them all, I learned so much, and with the support of my Youth News Team, teacher Mr. Smith and I decided to focus my video mainly on the LGBT issue.

    With only 22 of the 50 United States requiring some form of sex education at high schools, most do not properly address LGBT-specific topics, or omit them altogether. The rest of the states either have no sex ed requirement, or they promote abstinence-only programming. I believe every school in the United States should require sex education. As a friend of and now advocate for the LGBT community, I think truly inclusive sex education must address sexuality in a way that does not create negative impressions and harmful phobias. Like math and English, inclusive sex education should be mandatory, addressing all genders and sexualities about safe-sex practices, the benefits of abstinence, unsafe sex outcomes, and support/treatment options. I hope this news report helps make inclusive sex education in all schools a possibility.

     

    Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences is a magnet high school focused on agricultural sciences in Roxborough. Saul is the largest agricultural farm school in the United States.

    Youth News Team is a student reporting program hosted by PSTV and WHYY with partners including the Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention, KYW Newsradio, and the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement. The program is intended to provide Philadelphia students a unique opportunity to cover the 2016 Democratic Convention, the issues that affect their neighborhoods, and and how those issues relate to national political debate.

    The program is funded by The Philadelphia Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through a grant to WHYY.

    To provide mentorship, student teams were matched with local media partners including NBC10, Philadelphia Magazine, KYW, and WHYY to provide professional perspective and feedback.

    Five student teams were selected from an overall pool of 17 high school team applications and 41 middle school individual applications.

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