Team Sex, a group of Alberni District Secondary School students from Anne Ostwald’s Social Studies 10 class, created some discussion among School District 70 trustees at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
The students are campaigning for more comprehensive sex education in the ADSS curriculum and took a trip to the legislature in Victoria to meet with provincial Ministry of Education representatives, as well as Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser, to ask for more sex ed in high schools.
“The students blew [the representatives] away,” said Fraser.
“They had done all the research on the amount of teenage pregnancies that happen here, they did their own polling of young people in the area of the lack that they’ve had in sex education, in sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality issues…they were very frank and they had all the stats at their fingertips.”
The students presented statistics from a survey of more than 600 Grade 8-12 students at the high school to SD70 trustees on Tuesday.
Student Katherine Sweete, said on Tuesday morning, the class was contacted by the president and CEO of HPV Awareness, the No. 1 sexual educators in the country, offering to come to ADSS to teach sex ed.
“We are more than thrilled,” Sweete said.
After the presentation school trustees were given the chance to ask the students questions and continue discussion.
Board chair Pam Craig gave props to the students for their “excellent research” and impressive amount of students they surveyed. She asked about the HPV Awareness group and how they found out about Team Sex’s project.
The students replied that the organization found them through an online article posted on the Alberni Valley News’ website.
Trustee Larry Ransom questioned the students about whether they had any information on discussion that happens at home between a parent and child regarding sex education.
The students collaboratively replied saying that their survey was focused on the school’s curriculum and how they teach sex education as opposed to lessons at home. They mentioned that parents probably assume sexual education is taught at school.
“So there seems to be a disconnect from home to school whether or not the subject is fully covered or not,” Ransom said.
“I think what you guys have done is amazing,” trustee Rosemarie Buchanan said.
“I absolutely believe it is the responsibility of the parents to do this…every time we turn around as school districts, as educators, we find we’re being told we should be doing more stuff for kids that really should be happening at home…I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be doing it but parents need to step up with this too.”
Buchanan hopes that in the future the students who are getting the correct sex education will grow up to be adults who are more comfortable talking about it with their children.
Trustee Jane Jones told the students she appreciated the work they were doing. She then said in the aboriginal community, there are generations still dealing with the after-effects of residential schools.
“I’m only speaking because of the residential school and a lot of the parents of a lot of the children were not taught by their parents, they were in an institution,” Jones said.
She thanked the students for their work.