The topic of sex education has been a sensitive one for the Clark County School District board ever since September, when skeptical parents got wind of some proposed changes to the curriculum the school board was considering.
Although the board was only reviewing possible changes that may take place should the legislature mandate a more comprehensive sexual education program in schools, it made waves. Not only would it be a dramatic shift from the current, abstinence-only curriculum, it may include topics that make some people uncomfortable.
But according to students who have spoken up in the discussion, topics such as masturbation, sexual orientation and gender identity are things that need to be taught - in addition to methods of birth control and protection. When the board collected a survey about the curriculum from community members and parents, the student voice was notably absent. When the survey was released Jan. 22, students in the Nevada Teen Health & Safety Coalition spoke up.
The students were given national attention in a video on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show." Correspondent Jordan Keppler aired a satirical news segment making light of the irony in not teaching students sexual education in a city that uses sex as a main selling point.
Students from the Nevada Teen Health & Safety Coalition spoke about the lack of sexual education in their schools, with one student even admitting that he got two girls pregnant while in high school.
The district has said that current state law prevents them from allowing student input on the issue, and in an interview with KNPR last month, superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said that a balance needs to be found between the parents who want to be the ones to teach their students about sex ed, and ensuring students are actually getting the information they need.
According to one survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control in 2013, nearly half of all high school students have reported having sexual intercourse. By some students' estimation, that number is probably a lot higher. Until a state law is passed, however, the abstinence-only based sexual education curriculum will not likely change.
To see information on CCSD's sex education curriculum, click here.
Cassie Charles, junior, Arbor View High School
Gaylyn Daniels, coordinator, Nevada Teen Health and Safety Coalition
"The Daily Show" clip may not be appropriate for all ages: