Teen sex education becomes mandatory in NYC

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made it mandatory for students to attend teen sex education classes for the first time in almost two decades, according to The New York Times. The initiative applies to all schools, but focuseson black and Latino teens in particular, who are most at risk for unwanted pregnancies and common STDs

"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 publication. "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."

One of the biggest controversies about the program is a class that would teach students how to use a condom. Some attendees will be as young as 11, although parents can choose to opt their children out of the course. Other classes will have lectures and statistics about sexual health and activity. Groups will come together to talk about the importance of contraceptives.

Casimiro Cibelli, a principal of a middle school in the Bronx, explained to the Times that he expects there to be some backlash, especially because some families in the area are from more traditional and religious backgrounds.

What may surprise most opposition is that this campaign, which costs $130 million for three years, has an overwhelming amount of support from New Yorkers in general. In 2009, more than 80 percent of residents believed there should be some form of sex education in schools, according to the news source.

Condoms are an important resource for anyone who is thinking about being sexually active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that these contraceptives can significantly reduce the risk of STDs and pregnancy.  

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