How much do you know about sex?

By Kendal Phillips and Sarah Garner –

Jordynea Hill gets up at the crack of dawn every morning to have bottles and diapers ready for her newborn son.  She’ll need at least 12 diapers for just one day of changing and enough formula to fill his daily needs.  Hill is a Penn Manor High School senior who can no longer walk the halls during regular school hours, can’t go to any sporting events and can’t eat lunch with her friends in the school cafeteria.  Hill, 17, attends Twilight (evening) school so she can take better care of her four-month-old son.

She’d be the first to say how difficult it is to be a teenage mom.

“Wait as long as you can, till you think you can take care of a kid,” Hill said to teens having unprotected sex.

Unfortunately teens across the country don’t seem to be following the advice that Hill and many other teenage parents are giving.

A national study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit group that studies reproductive and sexual health, showed that the rate in teen pregnancy, that had been on the decline since the 1990’s, is now rising.

The popular teen show “16 and Pregnant” and its follow-up show, “Teen Mom,” are examples of how difficult it is to be a parent at such a young age.  Even though the shows are among some of the most watched, many teens just don’t seem to be taking the consequences seriously.

Lashaya Baker, a Penn Manor senior, agrees that teens sometimes rush into sex without thinking of the consequences.

Lashaya Baker stops in the hall to talk to teacher Kathy Kirk.

“Yes, they’re doing it because everyone else is doing it,” she said,

Baker herself is six months pregnant.

In a recent survey at Penn Manor, some students said they were not certain they would always use contraception if they planned to have sex.

Randomly, 42 students were asked to take an anonymous survey about their attitudes toward unprotected sex.  These students included all grades and both boys and girls.  About three-quarters of the students surveyed claimed they were sexually active.

Although only less than one percent of the population was questioned, the survey results indicated some students were not concerned with the consequences of unprotected sex.  Out of 42 students, only half said they were using some sort of contraceptives every time they have sex, if they were currently sexually active.

The students that weren’t sexually active were asked whether or not they would use contraceptives every time in the future.  Not all said they would.

“The issue here is clearly that we have a lot of teenagers who are having sex, but they aren’t careful enough at contraception to avoid pregnancy,” said Sarah Brown, executive director of the nonprofit National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy during a recent interview with New York Times.

In the same survey, five out of five senior boys who were surveyed admitted to being sexually active, compared to two out of five freshman boys.   Five out of five senior girls said they were sexually active, with four out of five on birth control.  Three out of five freshman girls said they are sexually active, but out of those five, none said they were using any type of birth control.

Birth control pills are just one option to prevent pregnancy.

When teen girls were asked whether they would have sex without a condom which can protect from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, their responses were revealing.

“Yeah, ‘cause I’m on birth control,” said a Penn Manor junior, “If you’re in the heat of the moment it’s just going to happen, you’re not just going to say stop.”

That was a similar story repeated by those in the survey – that teens often decided to have sex without any planning.

That story changed when reality hit for Brittany Scott a pregnant teen at Penn Manor.

“Now I’d probably say ‘no,’ because it’s not worth the risk,” said Scott now 21 weeks pregnant.

Out of the 21 boys that were surveyed, only 13 said that they currently use or would use protection every time they have sex and only 9 out of the 21 girls that were surveyed are on birth control.

Also,  some adults in the high school were asked their views on the availability or effectiveness of sex education in school.  Currently, all students in high school take a health class where reproduction is discussed but birth control methods are not.

Some felt that schools should not be focusing on just abstinence or prevention, but showing the positives and negatives of both.

“I think if it’s abstinence based, you’re dumb to think they’re not doing it so they should be taught how to be safe,” said Penn Manor health teacher, Stephen Weidner.

“Both, you should have to educate the students with information of sex and abstinence,” said Principal Phil Gale, “It isn’t only a school thing, it’s a parent and school responsibility.”

Teenage students were asked their feelings on whether or not they think people rush into sex without knowing the possible outcomes.

“I think everyone acknowledges what could happen, but I don’t think they use [their knowledge],” said junior  Stef Freidman.

Couple walks the halls of Penn Manor

Tara Coulter is another Penn Manor senior who said she didn’t take sufficient precautions and is now dealing with the consequences of being a teen mom.

“Wish it came later,” said Coulter, of her three-month-old son, “People always tell you how hard it will be but you don’t know how hard it will be till it happens.  It’s not cool to have a baby until you’re ready.”

“Yeah, even though we learn stuff in health class, people just don’t think before they do things,” said Scott who is expecting her baby this summer.

Paul Chismar, Penn Manor earth science teacher, agreed, “Absolutely, they’re not prepared for the consequences.”

“They think  ‘it won’t happen to me’” said Cindy Bachman, athletic director  secretary and cheerleading coach.

Unfortunately, it can.

Also see related story:  “Hush little baby.”

Comments

  1. Ellen Pollock says:

    Well, THIS article definitely caught my attention! I’d be interested in posters’ opinions on what aspects of our sex education curriculum is done well and what we need to do better.

  2. Ben Bauman says:

    This hurts my feelings.

  3. victoria torres says:

    this article did catch my attention.

  4. victoria torres says:

    This article did catch my attention

  5. Cody Haines says:

    I think this artical is informitive on the amount of sexually active students in Penn Manor

  6. Samantha says:

    i think if you know what your doing and you now the bad things that can happen . Either don’t do it or protect your self . And its not bad talking to some one about as people will think.

  7. sami bloom says:

    This article is very true if your not ready for a baby why rush and have sex? I mean duh, get ready for the summer time if you have a baby, your going to be with them all summer and her cry after cry after cry.

  8. Why would you choose to do be sexually active? When most teens get pregnant while still in school they usually have to drop out just to care for there child. Why don’t you just enjoy your childhood while you can. Don’t think about that until your at a reasonable age to care for a child. But if your gonna be sexually active you should always use protection ALWAYS.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Kendal Phillips and Sarah Garner is was a great article and teenagers should think about what they are doing.

  10. john newton says:

    kids and having sex is nonsense

  11. Kyle Forbes says:

    I think this would be a bit better if it spoke about other consequences. There are more possible problems that can come from unprotected sex aside from pregnancy. Even with birth control medications, STDs can easily be contracted and are usually only prevented by a male or female condom. Also, pregnancy does not relate to any possible LGBT youths in the Penn Manor school system. It’s partially isolating your audience.

    Aside from these facts, he article is fairly well written. Just try to give all the information and make sure you’re keeping it open to ALL of your audience! 🙂

  12. Abstinence until marriage is the best and most fiscally responsible option.

  13. Everyone should just face the facts that sex in high school is definitely bound to happen, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. It would be nicer if people just thought before they did things though. Students should choose whether or not they want to become sexually active in high school, either choice is fine as long as you’re smart about what your doing and comfortable with the choice you make. I also notice people are afraid to talk to their parents or school to help them make good decisions. If you’re really afraid to talk to someone in your community about what you’re doing, you should go to planned parenthood, they give you lots of help in decisions you’re making. They also provide different types of protection/contraception and inform you on how to stay safe from std’s and pregnancy.

  14. I have to agree with my sister Dani and also the girl Laura. You should wait until you are married to have kids because when you do get pregnant you are not alone and guess what? Since you are married the guy can’t leave you. Most guys don’t want kids they just want sex. Teenage girls should respect themselves better. When you have a child you lose your childhood. I lost mine and it’s not fun. Now at the age of 20 I am still not sexually active and you know it’s not a big deal. I can still enjoy myself. I can go back to school and even go out with friends. I can spend a late night out if I want and not have to worry about calling a sitter for a baby.

    Schools need to change their sex education courses to show everything. You talk about sex and most schools even hand out condoms. Come on do you really expect a person to not use it? I mean seriously you give them the open opportunity to experiment because most sexual education teachers don’t show them the big picture. They say that using a condom means they are safe. They are not! Condoms break, condoms don’t protect against STDs. Condoms can be tampered with. You should always use birth control and other means. Don’t depend on that condom cause when you depend on it the most it will fail you.

    To the girls who are pregnant in Penn Manor High School. Good luck and I hope you raise your children to be smart and strong adults. Make sure you teach them to be smarter then you were when you made the choice to have unprotected sex.

  15. I had sex but we used protection but it failed but it was the biggest mistake of my life!!!I wish i could take it back every day!!

  16. Miss Mims says:

    I believe that abstinence has its flaws too. Many people may hear the term and find out what it means. (Waiting until you are married to have sex) This influences teens to plan getting married at young ages so they could have sex without people saying they didn’t wait. Many people who get married these days don’t stay together very long anyway. Someone else above also said, “Since you are married, he can’t leave you” Divorce has been on the rise in recent times.