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When I was a freshman, I had to take and pass a health / sex-ed class. But that requirement was cut two years ago because of funding constraints. Now, the lack of sexual health knowledge is clear on my campus.
Recently, my drama class put on a play about high school and college students contracting STDs. We performed the play for the whole school. During a Q and A afterwards, one girl asked, “What are ovaries?” I was in shock that we had to define parts of her own body.
Sexual health isn’t always something you can see on the outside. I really didn’t know that people were confused until after I was in the play and people started using me as a resource. One girl asked me for the number for the Long Beach Health Center, and said, “They do abortions there right?”
This play allowed students like me to take on the role of teachers, and fill an educational gap.
Since I don’t anticipate more funding for health classes in Long Beach any time soon, I hope teachers of all subjects take the initiative to teach a little bit of health. Just one talk about condoms or STDs could change someone’s life.
Suzan Al Shammari is a reporter at Voicewaves Youth Media.