Public School System, you have failed me and so many others

Anonymous, Sophomore

Dec 17, 2021

No communication, dreading sex with your partner, and being coerced into sex
for example, are warning signs of an unhealthy relationship

Dear Public School System,
I struggled really hard with trying to figure out who to write this letter to. I don’t want to
put blame on my mom and dad for not having these specific conversations around sex, consent and healthy relationships with me or not going into depth with the conversations we have had. But maybe I should be? With that being said, did anyone teach them? Are they aware of what our culture today is like? Instead, I decided to write my letter to you, the public school system. You, know. You see what kids deal with. You have failed me and so many others.

I recently took a Communication class and had the opportunity to learn about the effects of porn and media, cultural messaging, consent, and communication when it comes to sex and relationships. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had learned this information in high school, I would have avoided so many situations that put me in harm's way, mentally, emotionally, sexually and physically. I realize that there is a stigma around sex and the things I just mentioned but normalizing these topics and creating a required course on sex ed would be beneficial to so many young adults who, like me, find themselves in scary situations they don’t understand. Many of my guy friends have a porn addiction. They weren’t properly taught in school about what a healthy sexual relationship looks like and because of this, they turned to porn, the unhealthiest way to learn about sex and women’s bodies. I can only imagine how their addictions and views of sex have negatively affected past partners and will negatively affect their partners in the future. So many of my friends still don’t know how to have intimate sex, and still don’t realize that sex doesn’t always have to rough and violent. Their lack of education on this topic is so damaging. You, Public School System, could
have changed this for us, but you didn't.

In this Communication class module called Sexual Citizenship, I learned that sex, for a lot of women, is a performance rather than an intimate and consensual act shared among two people. I learned in my class that communication before, during, AND after sex is
healthy while no communication, dreading sex with your partner, and being coerced into sex
for example, are warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. I wish I had known or had a better understanding of this going into college. I wish I could have seen the red flags when I was in a bad situation, or when one of my friends was. Like the time I was so drunk and found myself in the back of a car with an older man I didn’t even know, how dangerous!

I can’t repeat this enough, I could have been saved from so much emotional damage if I had been taught, early on, by those responsible: my educators. Wasn’t it your job? The lack of education on how important communication is...hurt me. The lack of consent education...hurt me. The lack of education on sex and relationships...hurt me. The lack of information about healthy equal relationships, hurt me. I felt weird even calling my vagina a vagina! Why? Why are we taught to censor ourselves when it came to our bodies? We are continuing a generational cycle by censoring words such as “vagina” and “penis”. It is incredibly
harmful, especially to women, as they might not have the words to effectively communicate to doctors or others about important topics such as their health or even sexual experiences.

You, Public School System, could change this! You could usher in a new era of sexually and culturally literate young people that understand consent, healthy relationships, healthy communication for sexual partners, the dangers of unequal power dynamics in relationships. I can only hope that this letter will convince you to implement an adequate sexual education program for high schoolers. One that goes into the depth of these complex topics, beyond just the basic anatomy that we are currently taught.