Texas does not enforce sex education curriculums, even after criminalizing abortion early on


Graphic by Gracie Watt / Hilltop Views

‘Sex Education,’ a Netflix Original tv show was first aired on Jan. 11, 2019 and brings up issues that sex education curriculums in schools need to address.

On Sept. 17 the third season of “Sex Education” was released on Netflix. The show is a high school teen drama that has a mission to de-stigmatize teen sex and to educate those who lack a proper and inclusive sexual education in school. 

This show has become a valuable resource to young people and adults that want to be informed on what sexual education should include and how certain preferences and identities shouldn’t be treated as taboo.

The TV show addresses things like gay sex, fetishes, sexually transmitted diseases, pronouns, masturbation, birth control, casual sex, pregnancy, abortion, abstinence, sexual assault, disabilities, and encourages seeking out therapy. 

With Texas recently passing Senate Bill 8, there is an urgency for people to be educated on how to seek out safe sex. Ironically, Texas is one of the ten states that does not enforce sexual education.

Only 24 states require schools to teach sexual education; 37 states require that if sexual education is taught, that abstinence is included; and 26 states require emphasis on abstinence. Texas is also one of the 22 states that does not require sex education to be medically accurate.

The Texas State Board of Education voted to change the sex education curriculum in 2020, which allowed middle school programs to teach an “abstinence-plus”curriculum that educates students on birth control, instead of an “abstinence-only” education.

The board ignored countless suggestions given at a public testimony event, asking schools to teach about consent, sexual orientation and gender identity; all things that would benefit safe sex and help students feel more comfortable in their bodies. 

The board left it up to each individual district to decide what they wanted to include in their own sexual education curriculum. The Austin school district came up with their own curriculum, and in 2019 updated it to inform students about sexual orientation, gender identity and consent. 

It’s quite concerning that the board did not show any interest in any of the LGBTQ+ issues that were brought up at the public testimony event. A study in 2017 highlighted that there is a need for LGBTQ+ inclusivity in school systems because 60% of students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 45% because of their gender expression. 

Not only is the lack sexual education and inclusivity harming our society, but it’s creating the mentality that there is only one form of sex, and it should be avoided until marriage. This is the same issue with abortion in Texas. SB8 will not prevent abortions from happening, it will prevent safe abortion from happening. 

As the show “Sex Education” states: “Unfortunately, restraint doesn’t mix very well with raging hormones.” Teaching sexual education that encourages safety and not “restraint” does not mean that it is promoting kids to have sex, it’s just equipping them with the knowledge that they need at an age when they are sexually maturing. 

It’s ridiculous that Texas is not eager to strengthen their sex education curriculum, but they are quick to criminalize abortions early on. Teaching safe sex may decrease the amount of teen pregnancies and people searching for abortions. 

Shows like “Sex Education” are important because they raise awareness on issues that shouldn’t be issues at all, while also normalizing conversations about sex that are still very taboo in the school systems today when they have no place to be.