thumbnail of KCET Journal; Kids, Sex & Choices
Transcript
Hide -
<v Speaker>If a young man says to you, if you really loved me, you'd prove it. What can you say? <v Speaker>No! <v Speaker>A little more force. <v Speaker>No! <v Speaker>Do you always say that? No. <v Speaker>Even for a person who's gone all the way. That person may no longer be a virgin. But there is still the concept of virginity of choice, virginity of the heart. <v Speaker>If you're too embarrassed to talk about birth control, should you be having something as intimate as sex? We're trying to get across to kids that if you're going to be sexually active, be sexually responsible. Protect yourself and protect your partner. <v Speaker>They don't need more contraceptives, they don't need no sex education, and they leave our kids alone, leave it up to the parents. <v Speaker>The vagina is a hollow pouch that's up inside the body. And this is the opening. <v Speaker>I want you to take one of your colors and color that in blue. Children who have a good background in sexual education are less likely to become sexually promiscuous, less likely to become pregnant as teenagers, less likely to get a sexually transmitted disease.
<v Speaker>Teaching kids how to say no to sex. Explicit lessons about contraception. School clinics that distribute condoms. Sex education for third graders. Hello, I'm Robin Growth. Kids are being taught about sex in ways that were unheard of five years ago and more change is coming. In fact, we are witnessing a revolution in sex education. Why? Well, it seems that we as a nation simply haven't done a good job teaching our kids to be responsible about sex. The facts speak for themselves. <v Speaker>I got pregnant when I was 15. It made me feel like, you know, I was real stupid to believe everything he said. But I was I was naive too because I was dumb to believe that it couldn't happen, you know. I thought to myself that it would never happen to me. <v Speaker>But teen pregnancy is happening, and in epidemic numbers. 40 percent of today's eighth grade girls will be pregnant before age 20. One of the most alarming problems is the still rising birth rate of girls 14 and under. We're getting your test results in about 48 hours. So we'll let you know.
<v Speaker>Despite the publicity, most teen sex is still not safe sex. This year, one out of every seven teenagers will contract a sexually transmitted disease. Even more disturbing, syphilis cases among teens last year rose 25 percent. And these trends may mean big problems for kids. Now there's a new threat, AIDS. Betty, now 24 and living in northern California, was one of the first teenagers to contract the virus. <v Speaker>I was 17. I was just finishing high school. I met this guy, you know, and I thought he was real exciting and and his lifestyle was. And I met him and started going out with him. And later on, I found out, you know, many years, years after that, that I tested positive for the AIDS virus that I had ARC. And I know that I got it from him.
<v Speaker>The United States surgeon general says Betty's case may be the start of a trend. He believes we might even see an outbreak of AIDS among young heterosexual adults who contracted the disease as teenagers. <v Speaker>In fact, AIDS has raised the stakes so high it's begun to force us all to reexamine what we teach our kids about sex and what should we teach? Our choices range from classes stressing abstinence only to explicit instruction about contraceptives. The process of choosing what to teach is often emotionally charged, controversial and fraught with questions. Will teaching abstinence only leave kids unprotected if they choose to have sex? Wil teaching about contraceptives encourage promiscuity? In California, the state that leads the nation in new AIDS cases and has the highest number of pregnant teens, schools are scrambling for answers. <v Speaker>The heart of the state's problem is in Southern California. Here we surveyed 108 school districts covering more than 600,000 public high school students. Our findings, 80 percent apparently believe they are not doing enough and are planning to rewrite their sex education curricula. Our survey also found that kids are not taught either abstinence or contraception very well. For those who favor contraception, education, particularly with condoms, more than half of all students don't get instruction that shows them what they look like, how to use them or where to get them. For those who favor abstinence education, nearly half these students aren't taught skills that can help them say no to sex. Clearly, we are missing oppor-
<v Speaker>to teach our children how to be sexually responsible. Unlike math or science, the goal is not just to pass along information. To be effective, educators must try to influence kids behavior because the ultimate test will not be in the classroom. In some schools, individual teachers are finding ways to reach kids. We chose two of the most effective of these educators: one who stresses abstinence, the other contraception. Their methods are different from most of their peers. Their courses are more comprehensive. No matter what your views, we think they offer lessons for all of us. <v Speaker>Both teachers work in Huntington Park, a working class suburb south of downtown Los Angeles. Here, according to a school district study, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are among the highest in the city at Huntington Park High, a Los Angeles public school veteran health instructor, Gail ?Roth?, teaches five weeks of sex education. She stresses comprehensive lessons on contraception. The reality is that at least 50 percent of teenagers are going to be sexually active by the time they reach 12th grade. That's a national statistic. In our community, we've got kids going out and having sex. It's not until there's a pregnancy scare the girl gets pregnant that they might consider the use of birth control. This is the kit that I take with me on my Friday night dates. Okay. Every time I go out on Friday nights, I'm sure to take my vaginal sponges. Okay. I'm careful to take my vaginal suppositories. I'm careful to take rubbers. Okay. I'm careful to take my contraceptive foams. I'm careful to take all my birth control pills. And I'll make sure I'm gonna be safe. Make sure it's like going shopping. Well, you know, I take my diaphragm with me. I just want to make sure, wanna make sure that it all gets in there. Okay. All right. Let's talk about condoms. Okay. So let's break the word condom. What are they also known as? Rubbers. A lot of guys have problems using them because they don't know how. All right. Does the penis have to be erect or relaxed to use it? Anybody know? Erect. So the guy has to be sexually aroused. It has to be rolled on to the penis. Okay. Take it out of the package. Okay. It's rolled up. All them come rolled up. Okay. And it's rolled onto the penis with a little receptacle tip. And he has to be sure to pull it all the way down to the base of the penis and hold on to it as he enters the penis into the vagina. Why hold on to it? So it'll stay on, okay? If it flips off, what can happen? Well, you can get the girl pregnant. It just takes one sperm cell out of those millions and millions and millions to leak out and find the egg. So girls, it's really important the if guy doesn't know how to put it on, now you do. Okay next. Something that can be used with this. Contraceptive foams and gels. Contraceptive refers to birth control or prevention of pregnancy. OK. There are various brands. This is a one form of contraceptive foam. OK. And there is an active ingredient in this that can also be found in condoms. But you have to read the label. And the active ingredient that we're looking for in both condoms, and you have to read labels. It's called nonoxynol-9. This has been found to not only kill sperm, but it's also been found to prevent or knock off some of the germs that cause STDs, including AIDS. OK. The woman inserts into the vagina. OK, all the way up. Pushes up on the applicator there and uses a whole application's worth of this stuff. Now some women who want a chance on the money decide all or use half an applicator for what do we call some of those girls or women? Mothers. OK. Hey, don't get cheap with this stuff because what's more expensive, a bottle of this stuff that might be four, five, six dollars or a baby that grows into an adult and cost roughly a hundred thousand dollars to raise? Now, what's messier, this or dirty diapers?
<v Speaker>?Roth's? is but one approach. For many, her teachings run counter to religious or moral beliefs. At St. Mathias, just blocks from Roth's classroom, Sister ?Carlanne? offers a clear alternative: abstinence. <v Speaker>We can start on many of the same foundations that other programs of sexual education begin with. But I don't feel that that's going far enough. I think that that just leaves on the practical method of, well, if you're going to have sex now, you'd be safe better, you know, safe than sorry. And that doesn't challenge young people to make choices about how they use or abuse their bodies and other persons bodies which are created in God's image. How much of your body is made in God's image? <v Speaker>All. <v Speaker>Are you sure? Are you convinced of that? Even if you don't like your hair? What if you don't like your flat feet? Or your knobby knees? Or your poor physique? What is it, how much of your body is made in the temple of God? All of it. You know, sometimes people think and people act as if, watch this. Our body from here to here and from here to here is made in the image of God. And something got left out. Look, I left out. Don't look at me like you don't. Don't be coy with me! From here to here and here to here is made in the image of God. And it's as if what got left out.
<v Speaker>Private parts. <v Speaker>What's that? Private parts? The reproductive organs. Think of this. Sometimes people believe that there is a little tiny valve inside that turns off when the pressure is on. And that little valve is named Catholic. Or Christian or moral or good girl or whatever else you want to call it. And so when the pressure is on and things are getting pretty hot and pretty heavy, we think that there comes a point and it builds up and it builds up and the steam builds up and then the little valve goes "Catholic!" and the body shuts down. It doesn't happen that way. Your body, your reproductive organs haven't got a clue about the Ten Commandments. One of the things I'm trying to get across here is that you do have a choice that because you are a temple, because your body is a temple, you have a choice of what you do to that body and what you allow others to do. You treat a temple, a masterpiece, God's work of art, God's masterpieces as sacred. Not just yours, but everyone else's. So the difficulty becomes then to make the proper choice and to believe you have the choice that you can say no.
<v Speaker>Clearly, Roff and Sister ?Carlann? demonstrate that schools committed to teaching sex education, regardless of the approach, can find a way. But some schools still teach little or nothing at all. At San Marino High, an outstanding school in academics, no sex education is required. The only course offered is an elective called Driver's Education and Personal Hygiene. <v Speaker>I'm a freshman at San Marino High and I have not had any sex education whatsoever yet. <v Speaker>I guess in driver's ed. we had some like I guess um with venereal diseases and stuff they taught us about that, VD and stuff, but nothing else really. <v Speaker>I haven't had anything. I didn't take driver's ed, so I didn't get health afterwards and so I haven't had any education at all. <v Speaker>?Selma Sachs?, San Marino School Board chairman, says the decision not to teach sex education reflects community values. <v Speaker>This community, I believe, continues to be of the majority feeling that these sensitive issues are between parent and child in the context of the home and in the context of the personal beliefs of that family.
<v Speaker>Some parents, such as Jane ?Averba? past chairman of the PTA's Family Life Committee, believe that the AIDS crisis is so serious the community should use every available resource to educate children. That means schools as well as parents. <v Speaker>I think there is a certain amount of denial, heavy denial that these ills of society could ever penetrate San Marino and I think it will take the death of some of our young people from the disease AIDS to maybe stir them up to the point where they realize that some kind of education from the community and from the schools is basic to the well-being of all of our young people. <v Speaker>As head of the Family Life Committee, ?Averba? developed a plan backed by the PTA to put basic sex education in the schools, but ?Sachs? And the school board rejected the idea. However, they do plan to continue the one night a year classes that answer parents questions about how to teach sex education.
<v Speaker>I don't see that it is wrong for a majority of the community to resist what may be the current thing to do and the current trend if they truly believe, as we do in this community, that there are things that belong to parent and child. <v Speaker>But are parents meeting their responsibility? We asked San Marino students what they thought. I think it should be left at home and up to the parents because some parents don't discuss that with their children and so then some children don't know. <v Speaker>I think the school should teach sexual education because parents will either be too embarrassed or not want to talk about it with their children until it's too late. <v Speaker>I've had a couple of friends that have gotten seriously involved and stuff and they haven't really known what they're doing because their parents haven't told them. <v Speaker>I do know. I know one girl, yeah, who had an abortion. She, um, she didn't get any information from her mom whatsoever.
<v Speaker>Nationwide, experts support what these kids told us. According to the Center for Population Options, more than 80 percent of parents never had a meaningful talk about sex with their kids. When parents fail to teach their children about sex, then the burden falls on schools. And if kids don't learn it here, well, they'll learn it from friends on the street or experimenting on their own. So our schools, by default, inherited the burden of teaching kids about their sexual choices. And as we've learned, no matter what kind of education your community favors, contraception, abstinence or a combination of the two, there are programs that fit your philosophy. Once you choose a program, that's when the real work begins. For both Gail Roth and Sister Carlann, the key is giving their students the skills necessary to make responsible decisions. Roth starts with a simple test about perceptions. <v Speaker>We're going to divide groups into boys groups and into girls groups so the girls will be given an opportunity to make a list of things that they look for in the boys and the boys, likewise, we're gonna be given an opportunity to make a list of things that they look for in girls. And I want these to be honest okay?
<v Speaker>I needed an honest man, open minded personality. <v Speaker>The ass, the lips, nice legs. <v Speaker>You know, in education, one of the problems that I've run into is that some people out there are saying, well, you know, when we start having these kids feel, you know, or talk about feelings in the classroom, we're getting into dangerous territory. I just think that through dialog and things that we've done in class, a lot of times kids just have a rude awakening. And all of a sudden, you know, their eyes are opened and they think oh, my gosh I didn't know boys thought that or felt that about girls or I didn't know, girls thought that about boys.
<v Speaker>This is what boys your age are looking for girls. Okay, legs. What is it? Physical. Body. Looks Easy to get. Well, which group did this? So you think both. OK, that's fair enough. Body. What's that? It's physical. They want nice round breasts. Physical. They don't want fat chicks. No fat chicks. Is that a physical or a personality trait? All right. Let's count them up. We've got two for personality, 15 on the body, mostly sex organs. OK. What do girls want in boys? This group says they want personality, personality. What about honesty? What about respect? What about fun to be with? What about looks? That'd be physical. What about maturity? What about not shy? What about not aggressive? What about caring? High goals, ambitious, successful, romantic. And we have, what, 26 personality and we have 4 physical.
<v Speaker>Do you think girls really, girls really look for for that? <v Speaker>If those girls wrote that then I truly believe that that's what those girls want. Just a second. I can understand why it's hard for you and maybe some of the other guys in the class. Hold up for a second, Selena, to understand that, because what you're looking for and what your drives and your desires are totally different. It doesn't mean they're good or bad. They're different. What you have to learn to accept is that that's how it is with girls right now. And that's how it is with boys right now. And as you grow and develop, you get to see that changes will take place. OK. Got it. OK. Have a good day. See ya. <v Speaker>At St. Mathias, Sister Carlann takes a different tack. The key to abstinence, she believes, is students' self-esteem. She starts this lesson by having her students write down what they think are the greatest tragedies in life. We might squeeze some more on there, but take a look at some of the things that are written on the board as tragedies or sufferings that people experience in our society. Take a moment and look at it. How do you feel about what you see? Depressed, empty, depressed. Scared. Hurt. Sad. Maria.
<v Speaker>I feel angry. <v Speaker>Can you tell me why? Why do you feel angry? Because there's so many. There's a lot of things that are happening, and we're not really doing anything about it. <v Speaker>For all of the tragedies that are listed on the board that we want to wipe out, I would suggest to you that the greatest tragedy, the greatest suffering of all is not written on that board. The greatest suffering and the greatest tragedy is the fact that we do not believe in the goodness of ourselves created in God's image and because we don't believe it, many of these things happen. I um, I have a little masterpiece to show you, okay?. Felicia, Mirabel, Liz ?Alejana? and Maria come on up okay? Come on, please. Take a look. And then as soon as Felicia looks at God's masterpiece, okay? You're all smiling. Anybody else wanna see God's masterpiece?
<v Speaker>Yes. <v Speaker>Would you like to see Guy's masterpiece? <v Speaker>Yes. <v Speaker>I know that we are God's masterpiece. And I ask you to accept it, but I can't prove it to you. <v Speaker>How about if you've been stomped on? You know, people tell you this. Your parents tell you this. Your friends, and you can't escape. And what do you do then? You're just hurting constantly. <v Speaker>Maria. <v Speaker>I think you also have to keep in mind that you can always satisfy other people. You have to satisfy yourself. It doesn't matter what they think. <v Speaker>You have to build it up inside you, inside you, you have to believe, remember? OK, what is this? What is this? God's masterpiece. What does it matter if other people look in the mirror of the heart of who you are and they look at you and they say, so who is she? So what for her? God's masterpiece is still there.
<v Speaker>At Huntington Park, Gail Roth tries to help her students make decisions by walking them through real life situations. In role-playing exercises, she tries to lay out all the choices: contraception as well as abstinence. The point is to help kids learn how to make responsible decisions. <v Speaker>Tommy, I like you a lot, but I'm not ready to have sex with you. Maybe when I get to know you better. What does Tommy want in this picture? He wants to have sex, okay? What does the girl want? Not to have sex, okay and she also uses what we call an "I" statement. Assertive statements are really good when you start out with the word I. Tommy, I like you a lot. Is that telling Tommy that she still likes him as a person, that he's okay? But I'm not ready to have sex. Now, is that putting Tommy down? Is that saying you're a bad guy and I don't want to have sex with you? How could Tommy respond to that? Huh? He might say, OK. And in fact, in some cases, Tommy might go, Oh, am I glad you don't want sex? I was really feeling a lot of pressure. What could the girls say or do if the guy won't let up? Okay, look, I told you, I'm not ready for it. Hands off, you know, and get a little firm with them or I don't want to see you again. Or, you know, when you learn to respect the person I am, then I'll see you again. We have to teach kids to be able to listen to the other, accept when a person is being honest and direct with them and to respond to that. We role played a situation where I had the kids act out an assertive, passive and aggressive response all to the same question. And with these kids, the ninth graders, I kept it simple. It was simply the boy asking the girl for a date.
<v Speaker>Uh, Rebecca would you like to go to dinner with me? <v Speaker>No I don't like you! You're ugly! I don't like the way you act! <v Speaker>What do you mean you don't like the way I act? <v Speaker>You're dumb! <v Speaker>All right. Was that a genuine put down? You know, you're ugly. I don't like the way you act. All right. Now, when you heard that, though, how did that make you feel? If this were real, if this were real. How does that make you feel when somebody puts you down like that? Okay what does it make you feel like doing the honest about it. <v Speaker>Like screaming at or - <v Speaker>Um, he's gonna ask you again, but this time you'll be assertive. You're going to turn him down but you have to be assertive. So as you're not going to hurt his feelings or make him feel bad. <v Speaker>Rebecca, would you like to go to this week's game? <v Speaker>I'm sorry, but I can't. <v Speaker>Why not?
<v Speaker>I have to go with my parents. <v Speaker>Where to? <v Speaker>I don't know. <v Speaker>OK, stop. Do you really have to go to your parents? All right. So is she being honest? No. The truth is, what? She doesn't want to go out with him. Okay, third time's the charm. He's gotten to no answers so far. <v Speaker>Hello, Rebecca. Would you like to go to this week's game to see the game? <v Speaker>No, I can't. <v Speaker>Why not? <v Speaker>I'm not interested. But why not just interested in that or -. <v Speaker>I'm not interested in you. <v Speaker>Okay. <v Speaker>All right. How does that make you feel is that... It's a little put down. And in this situation, feel hard not to make the person feel put down, but was it honest? But at least you know where you stand with her now and you know, okay, this isn't going to work out. Maybe I need to try somewhere else. But at least she wasn't playing games or lying or being just, you know, deceptive.
<v Speaker>At St. Mathias. Sister Carlann also deals with the pressures on kids to have sex, but she focuses her lessons on the skills that help students say no to sex. <v Speaker>What does this one say? Words spoken by passionate Paul to reluctant Rita, you're still a virgin? <v Speaker>Thank you. You're still a virgin. What's the giveaway word there? <v Speaker>Still. <v Speaker>Why? Why? What does that suggest? When someone says you're still a virgin? What does that suggest? That means that she had sex with a guy that's just like. Oh, you still a virgin I can't believe this. She's still a virgin, he can't believe it. I can't believe it. What else is that suggest? All right, Carmen, let's go to the side. <v Speaker>Maybe it's time that she's not. <v Speaker>First of all, can't believe it. He was kind of just saying you mean how could you still be a virgin? And it's time that you did something about it. It's definitely regrettable. Now look at the expectation is that younger and younger girls are no longer virgins. Okay, Mary see what that one says.
<v Speaker>The words of turn on Tommy to stars in her eyes Fanny. If you really love me, you prove it. <v Speaker>Thank you, Mary. Why did you make that sound? Did you make it sound, Miriam? That's a very common line among guys. He's telling her, in other words, I don't care who you are. I just want it and I want it now. When a young man says to you this, if you really loved me, you'd prove it. What can you say? <v Speaker>No. <v Speaker>Let's try. Let's try that again. I want to hear a universal. If a young man says to you, if you really love me, you'd prove it. What can you say? <v Speaker>No! <v Speaker>A little more force. <v Speaker>No! <v Speaker>Do you always say that? No! Let's tell the truth here. Does that always come out? <v Speaker>Yes. <v Speaker>I would also, but it's hard sometimes. It's hard to realize that you have a choice. And that choice can be to say no. Because when he says I love you. Does he mean it? Maybe. Maybe he thinks he does. Maybe he doesn't.
<v Speaker>If he really loved you he would wait until you're ready and let you make the decision. And if he really loves you, he'd say, I'm going to wait till you're ready. You let me know. And that shows he has a lot of respect for you. Guys who just say, let's do it now. Get it on now. They have no respect for you or themselves. <v Speaker>Okay. He would wait. He would respect you. But also, it's very possible that you don't love him. It's very possible, so when he says to you, if you really loved me, maybe the answer is I don't love you. Why are we afraid to say that? Why do we are so afraid to say to people, I don't want that involvement with you? <v Speaker>But most teenagers do choose to have sex. According to one Harris poll, 57 percent before they turned 17. The question is, what do we teach them? Clearly, Roth's answer is to teach about contraception. But Sister Carlann has an answer, too. She believes that once teenagers lose their virginity, often they see no reason to keep from having sex. In a final lesson, she gives them the skills to get out of that trap.
<v Speaker>It says Lost: virginity. I misplaced it last weekend. If found, please notify could have gone to come on. When you lose something, what do you do? <v Speaker>Look for it. <v Speaker>You search. You go walking. You retrace your steps. You go back to your classroom. You ask your teachers. You go. Can you imagine yourself going to the school office and saying to the secretary, did anybody turn in my virginity? I know I had it. I had it last week. And I can't find it. I must've misplaced it. You know, it's a ridiculous expression. It's a ridiculous expression. But it's also a very sad expression, not just for the loss of virginity, but a sad expression for another reason. Anybody know why? Okay?
<v Speaker>It's sad because you can't get it back? <v Speaker>Because it sounds like you can't get it back. If you say, when you say a girl, usually it's a girl, isn't it? A girl has lost her virginity. It's like a point of no return. It's like it's a hopeless, helpless situation. And well, now that it's gone, it's gone. And what are you going to do? You say, well, I'm no longer a virgin, so I might as well give up and enjoy it. That's a copout. But to think that we still have a choice, and this is perhaps the most difficult thing for young people, young men or young women, to realize that even if you are no longer physically a virgin, you still have a choice about virginity. There's more to virginity than not having had sex. Is a person a virgin just because he or she has never had the chance, but has looked for the chance, has wished for the chance, has made herself available, puts want ads in the paper, and everybody says, Are you kidding? Later days? Does that make a person a virgin? Because she's never had intercourse and she's almost thrown herself a young man? No. And why is it there for every other every other thing we do wrong, we think we can turn around. When you tell a lie, you can make it up. When you steal something, you can give it back. When you've been mean to somebody, you can be nice. But when you've gone all the way sexually, you can't turn around? Why? Julie.
<v Speaker>If you feel I'm going to turn around and I'm not going to have sex with anybody anymore until I'm married, until I find the right one that I love, and you consider yourself a virgin again, forget about what other people say. They're not worth it. <v Speaker>Is there a way to turn the clock back physically? Is there a way physically? No, not really. I think we have to acknowledge that there isn't a way physically. Is there a way of the heart? I think so. I think it is a choice to be able to say that word. No. Even to Manipulating Melvin, who knows that you are no longer a virgin of the body to say no. I have a choice and I have a choice from this moment on. That's a tremendous sign of hope. <v Speaker>After dealing with relationships and decision making skills, schools still face the most controversial subject of all: AIDS. Nowhere does this issue strike deeper than in the Catholic Church. Nationwide, church officials are mired in controversy over what to teach about AIDS. Catholic bishops are even considering the once unthinkable step of teaching about condoms as a means of preventing AIDS. Still, in many dioceses such as here in Los Angeles, there are no clear guidelines for AIDS education. Public schools, too, are divided and uncertain what to teach. California legislators tried to step in by providing a state approved video about AIDS, and in the end they failed, too. But without state guidance on such a controversial subject, many schools have been reluctant to act. Our survey of Southern California schools showed that nearly 130,000 students, more than 20 percent of all high school students, received no AIDS education. Los Angeles City schools are an exception here. AIDS education is mandatory and the district is making special efforts to tell students they are at risk. Teacher Virginia Uribe is part of that effort. She tries to make teachers and kids aware that there is a significant gay population among teens, possibly as high as 10 percent. She believes schools and other teenagers often treat these students like they don't exist. And that can be a deadly mistake.
<v Speaker>From a health standpoint, that presents tremendous problems because we have the problem of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS now. And if they are having sex with people in the same sex, the young man and then they are having sex with women. We can see the transfer problems that way. So there are just tremendous problems with this kind of exploration in sexuality that takes place. <v Speaker>Uribe makes the point in her class by posting obituary notices of young men and women who have died from AIDS, a grim but effective device. These students will at least be forewarned. But for some, the warning has come too late. Such is the case with Betty, who at age 17 fell in love and began having sex. Last year, she found out her early lover had infected her with the AIDS virus. Teenagers have to be really concerned, really concerned about this. They have to be real aware of this, that it can happen to them. You know, it's out there just 'cause you're in the teen age category, just because you're between 12 and 20 doesn't make you immune to it. That's just stupid for them to think that way. It's naive. It's egocentric, and it's it's unrealistic. You know, get, they've gotta get educated. Teenagers have to be responsible. But how did teachers make them responsible? At Huntington Park High, Gail Roth teaches about AIDS throughout her course. First, the kids break into groups and learn about means of transmission, prevention, symptoms and diagnoses.
<v Speaker>Here's a pamphlet. If anyone is doing the actual diagnosis, this is a whole pamphlet on diagnosis. Later, Roth, role plays with students to show them how to use this information in real life situations. Gabriel and I are girlfriend and boyfriend, we decide we're going to have sex, okay, and really? Role play this. And I say, well, I say to Gabriel, Gabriel, you know, if if we're gonna have sex, I really want you to protect yourself and protect me not only from getting pregnant, but in case, you know, either of us has an STD, you know, I don't want to take a chance in getting it. So why don't you use a condom? <v Speaker>What for? <v Speaker>What for? Well, you know, because I want to be protected against getting pregnant and getting an STD, especially AIDS. I don't want to take a risk in getting AIDS. <v Speaker>Well, I don't have AIDS. <v Speaker>Well, how do you know you don't have AIDS? <v Speaker>Cause I just went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago.
<v Speaker>Well, did you actually have a test for AIDS? <v Speaker>No. I went to go have a check-up or something. <v Speaker>Well don't you know that, you know, there's no way you know you've been exposed to that if you haven't had the AIDS antibody test. How do you know you don't have AIDS? <v Speaker>I don't know. I don't feel bad. <v Speaker>Well, you're not going to feel anything. They say, Miss Roff said that you could have that gern for five years and not get the disease. You could even have the germ all your life and not get the disease. You could still pass it on to me. <v Speaker>Well, I don't know, you're the one that wants to have sex. <v Speaker>Well, you're the one that wants to have sex, too. I mean, you know, we've been going together now, and this is our wedding night and uh, yeah wedding night here. Well, you know, Gabriel, you'd use that if you really loved me. You'd use that. <v Speaker>What for? Since we're already going to get married, why don't we just have a kid? <v Speaker>Well, I - Okay. What's happening here? What's happening here? Okay, is he respecting me? All right.
<v Speaker>If anybody would tell me, check yourself if you have AIDS, I'd kind of get offended because you're saying, you know -. <v Speaker>Okay, might be a good suggestion to say, why don't we both go get checked? Just to reassure one another? <v Speaker>Yeah, it's different. <v Speaker>Yeah. Let's do it together. Because is that more of a supportive type statement? Yeah, let's do it together. Let's just be safe and make sure we're both okay. Because I don't want to infect you and I don't want you to infect me. And I know you love me and care about me. But this is serious stuff. This is something that maybe we should do. <v Speaker>Are the kinds of programs taught by Gail Roth and Sister Carlann really working? In abstinence education, widespread use of comprehensive programs like Sister Carlann's are so new, there is no clear answer. Still, many schools believe they are getting results. In San Marcos, California, just north of San Diego, educators kept informal records on their pregnancy rates. Principal Joe D. Dominicantanio.
<v Speaker>Our program resulted from the fact that in 1984 the high school made the announcement that 20 percent of the girls were pregnant that year. That equated to 147 girls at the high school being pregnant. Our program has resulted in a drastic decline in that. Last year, three years later, the high school reported 20 girls being pregnant. So we dropped over a period of three years from one 147 girls reported as being pregnant at our high school to 20 girls being reported as pregnant. We think that's a tremendous improvement. <v Speaker>San Marcos chose an abstinence program called Teen Aid, and combined it with self-esteem lessons they teach every day. <v Speaker>The purpose of Teen Aid is to hopefully lead the child to the decision that abstinence is the correct decision for them at this age. It's the only program we could find that would come out forward and say, hey, you've got a choice. You don't have to be involved sexually. I think any program needs to have those prerequisites that we have, the study skills, the self-esteem, the decision making, the character development, the how to be successful. Those things are what really make our program work.
<v Speaker>Research on contraceptive programs showed they, too, work if they are comprehensive, like Gail Roth's . A 1986 Harris poll found that when kids get this kind of comprehensive education, almost twice as many will use contraception. Still, nearly half of these teenagers don't use what they learn, leaving themselves open to pregnancy, disease and AIDS. To be even more effective, according to new research by Johns Hopkins University, teenagers need a bridge to birth control services, something to get them past that intimidating first step. This year at Jordan High, an inner-cityschool in central Los Angeles, school officials opened the first of a new kind of bridge: an on-campushealth clinic. Though mainly for medical services, it also distributes condoms and offers counseling on birth control and pregnancy. School board member Jackie Goldberg. <v Speaker>The only defense we have against AIDS is the proper use of condoms or abstinence. And since we know that approximately half the youngsters 16 years and older are not abstaining, then we have to be responsible in helping them be responsible about how they participate in sexual activity and what, one of the key things is the use of proper use of condoms.
<v Speaker>No sex clinics! No sex clinics!. <v Speaker>But the clinics now in three Los Angeles schools, have run into opposition from church and community groups. We say that these clinics are going to promote promiscuity. That's what we are so opposed to them passing out these condoms in and contraceptive advice and counseling. It's immoral. It's Planned Parenthood. They don't need no contraceptives. They don't need no sex education. And they leave our kids alone. Leave it up to the parents and the children will be all right. But the bridge doesn't have to come from schools. These students are part of a new group of teens helping teens. I had a friend come up to me and was really worried about an STD. She came up to me and she asked me about it and of course, I didn't know exactly what it was, but she said well, I think I wanna go to the clinic. And soI was like, and I knew what day I was working and so I said, well, you know, I'm working, you know, Monday. Why don't you come in and I'll be there. <v Speaker>Teen advocates go through more than 150 hours of training in sexuality and counseling. Now they are out in the community helping educate their friends and other students. At weekly meetings like this one, they talk about their jobs.
<v Speaker>What I find, like, is useful is telling people how the clinic works. And that's where most people I talk to end up going, is there end site? You know, this is how the clinic works. And I tell like step by step, you make an appointment. You walk in the door and what's going to happen to you from then on. And they find that pretty reassuring because the clinic's a pretty comfortable place. <v Speaker>Teen advocates volunteer every week at the South Bay Free Clinic, which sponsors their program. The combination of training and clinic experience makes them a natural, knowledgeable source of information. Senior advocate Jenny Dalvin. <v Speaker>We know about birth control methods. We know about sexually transmitted diseases. We know how to help people clarify their own thoughts, make their own decisions and support them in those decisions. And a lot of times teams will come up to us because they want that information, but also they want it from a stable source, someone who they know that information is correct, someone who will support them, won't laugh at them, won't make judgments upon them, someone who will support them in any decision that they choose to make.
<v Speaker>As we search for more effective ways to teach kids about sex, many nationally recognized experts say we have to start much earlier than junior high or high school, maybe starting as early as kindergarten and continuing all the way through 12th grade. A leading advocate of early education is United States Surgeon General C. Everett Coup. <v Speaker>I think to reach your young people, you have to go way back to the beginning. You can't start to educate an adolescent about sexuality when he or she is an adolescent. You have to start way back in the early days. And although I've been criticized for saying as early as possible, I really mean that. <v Speaker>But for most kids, early sex education is very limited, often just a one time film and short discussion. But that's not the case at Sequoia's School, a private school in Pasadena, California, here. Students begin sex education as early as 8 years old. Linda Maderas teaches the class. <v Speaker>I think you need to start early in the early grades, preparing the kids for what the changes that are going to come in their bodies, what's going to happen ahead of time. And they respond very well. I think you have to start third, fourth grade level because the same kids who are raising their hand, they've got wonderful questions. Two, three years later, they're not talking about going anymore because it's happening to them. And so becomes a different issue.
<v Speaker>Maderas takes a very frank approach, preparing her students to talk about the intimate, often unmentioned parts of their bodies. <v Speaker>When I first started to teach sex ed, the first year I came in the class, I said, no problem. This will be real easy. I'll just come in and I'll start by explaining -. <v Speaker>Can I pass out the papers? <v Speaker>Sure you can, and I'll start by explaining the different parts of the body. Jessie, do you want to pass them out to? And how they work and what they do. And maybe I don't draw so well, but we'll get by. Well, as soon as I walked in the classroom and said the word penis out loud, the three little boys in the back row got all red in the face and fell off their chairs. Five little girls up here started giggling out loud because they weren't used to hearing a teacher come into a room and say words like that out loud that you don't usually hear people talk about these body parts out loud anywhere. They're private parts of our body. We usually keep them covered up. But in order to know what's going on during puberty, you need to know about these body parts. So now I start off each class by giving you the pictures you all have here and two colored pencils, okay? Now we're going to color the different parts of the sex organs in. This shows the sex organs on the outside of a man's body, and this shows to the sex organs outside of a woman's body. There's a little dot here at the end of the penis. I want you to take one of your colors and color that in blue. That's the urinary opening. Then I want you to color this, which is the glands or the head of the penis, okay? And the rest of the penis, the sort of body of the penis is called the shaft. Let's see. Let's make that striped, okay? Below the penis is a sack of skin called the scrotum. Let's color this bag or sack of skin that's under the penis with polka dots.
<v Speaker>Do we have to color them in polka dots? <v Speaker>No, what would you like to color them? <v Speaker>Blank. <v Speaker>Now you go home school today, your mom says, your dad says, what do you do at school today? So you can hold this up and show em. One of the other things I like to do while we're coloring these in is I like to make the list of slang words on the board. Okay, anybody know any for the penis? <v Speaker>Boner. <v Speaker>Boner. <v Speaker>Hard on. <v Speaker>Hard on. You guys have some over here. What are they? <v Speaker>Cock. <v Speaker>Cock. Somehow when I write them on the board, they seem to get out of the classroom, not so much for the rest of the year. <v Speaker>Testes. <v Speaker>Testes is actually a good sign that's a name, it's another name for testicle. It's not really a slang term. It's a scientific proper term. Another reason why I have to do this is I think a lot of times sometimes you just don't know which are the slang words and which are the proper words. When grow up in a house where everybody refers to a penis as a wee-wee, you can think that's what it is.
<v Speaker>This year, for the first time, Maderas got questions about a new concern of her young students: AIDS. <v Speaker>You know how you made blood, sisters. You know, you pick a scab or something or, and take a needle and share the needle. Yeah. And they did that together. And I didn't know that when I came home and I asked my mom, hey, I said, mom, my friend was doing blood sisters. And then my mom said yeah, don't ever do that because there's a way you can get AIDS by that. <v Speaker>AIDS is a serious disease. It's a killer. You die from it. So I think for now, until we get this disease under control. Blood Brothers and blood sisters is definitely out of the question. <v Speaker>That's why lots of people aren't doing that. <v Speaker>I think that's a good idea. I'm with your mom on that one. <v Speaker>It's really great to be in this class because you can really know what's going on around you. She makes it easy for our age group to understand.
<v Speaker>It really, it really helps me get over the embarrassing parts so you're really not embarrassed when you talk about those things. With Linda, she isn't embarrased when she talks about it. She just comes right out and says what she's trying to say. <v Speaker>If I start to get scared of something and I talk about it, I don't get scared anymore. And I'm not that scared anymore now that I've talked about with Linda. <v Speaker>To not be afraid. To be safe. That's the real goal of sex education. No matter what your views, as we have just seen, there is something you can teach and creative ways to teach it. Our children's welfare demands it. Lessons on relationships, self-esteem, role-playing and early education. These are the elements that can help our kids be sexually responsible, because in the end it is our kids who will make the final choices. Sex education can help them make the right ones. For KCET Journal, I'm Robin Growth.
<v Speaker>What's the absolute best way the whole world not to get an STD? Absolute 100% sure you're not going to get it? No sex. <v Speaker>Your bodies, your reproductive organs haven't got a clue about the Ten Commandments. They don't know the Ten Commandments. Your body doesn't know you're Catholic. <v Speaker>The woman inserts into the vagina, okay. All the way up. Pushes up on the applicator there and uses a whole application's worth of this stuff. Now, some women who want a chance on the money decide only to use half an applicator full. What do we call some of those girls or women? Mothers. <v Speaker>But it becomes very difficult for a girl to say what? No. To say what? No. To say what? No. Thank you.
Series
KCET Journal
Episode
Kids, Sex & Choices
Producing Organization
KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip-526-z02z31px76
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-526-z02z31px76).
Description
Episode Description
"KIDS, SEX & CHOICES, a 60 min. documentary, is an exploration of new research developments. The program reveals a comprehensive study conducted by KCET's researchers of sex education in Southern California's public schools--the first ever for the area. "Today's children live in a society where television, movies and music constantly emphasize adult pleasures while seldom encouraging adult responsibilities. Parents, many of whom admit to feeling discomfort talking to their children about sex, are overwhelmed by the urgency and enormity of this responsibility. As a result, the enormous burden of sexually educating the kids has fallen, logically, on the schools. Public and private institutions are in the midst of a revolution; curricula are being debated and revised at state and local levels, school boards, parents and teachers are searching for programs suitable for their local communities. "KIDS, SEX & CHOICES primarily focuses on this revolution by interviewing students, teachers, parents and education experts in Southern California, to determine what works--and why. "For its commitment to informational programming, and for honoring the challenge of excellence demanded by our viewer/subscribers, we believe KIDS, SEX & CHOICES is worthy of a George Foster Peabody Award."--1988 Peabody Awards entry form.
Broadcast Date
1988
Asset type
Episode
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
00:57:48.031
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Producing Organization: KCET (Television station : Los Angeles, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-cefef895d41 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 1:00:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “KCET Journal; Kids, Sex & Choices,” 1988, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-526-z02z31px76.
MLA: “KCET Journal; Kids, Sex & Choices.” 1988. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-526-z02z31px76>.
APA: KCET Journal; Kids, Sex & Choices. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-526-z02z31px76