Starting this year, middle and high school students in New York City will be required to take Sex Education classes, a first in nearly two decades.

The classes, which are part of a larger initiative by the Bloomberg administration to improve the lives of Black and Latino youths, will cover everything from how to use a condom, the appropriate age for sexual activity, and sexually transmitted diseases. Because Black and Latino teens have higher unplanned pregnancy and STD rates than their White counterparts, many say this is exactly what the city needs.

“It’s obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls,” Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services, told the New York Times. “But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex.”

The classes will be taught to children in the 6th or 7th grade, and again in the 9th or 10th grade. Although some may worry that teaching kids about sex will prompt them to become sexually active, the most prevalent type of sex education, abstinence-only education, isn’t working either.

Parents who disagree with the curriculum will be able to opt-out of having their children learn about birth control options, but all students will learn about anatomy, puberty, pregnancy, and the risks of unprotected sex.

Although sex education may be scary to some adults, arming youth with the information needed to prevent pregnancy–and possibly save their lives–is as important as learning math or science.

What do you think about NYC’s new Sex Education requirement?

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  • Now only if the rest of the nation can get on board. Specifically here in “the highest rate of teen pregnancy” Texas!

  • Vanessa

    This is great, god only knows that they need to start learning about sex and how to be safe earlier. I think the parents that opt out are naive, if they don’t learn about sex from the parents or school all they have are the silly friends that tell them some nonsense. I’m all for sex ed!!1

  • Timcampi

    You know what’s funny? Teenagers and people of color are more likely to use condoms…

  • Alexandra

    I think this is a good idea. I think kids are gonna still hav sex anyways, but the earlier the better. I went to school in NYC and it was our gym teacher that had to take a week out of sport activities to teach about sex ed. But that was only for a week, so it’s great they are actually having classes. I don’t mind some parents having their kids opt out, but lets just hope they are talking to them at home.

  • Mary O

    If a parent wants to opt of having their child receive fact-based sex education, they should be required to sign a contract stating that if their child has a child, they (the grandparents) will raise the offspring to the age of 21 without a _penny_ of government assistance. If their kid contracts an STD, the parents’ insurance company should refuse to cover the cost of treatment. Willful refusal to take reasonable precautions–in this case, the provision of education–should not cost the taxpayers money.