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Exclusive: Teen Sex in Schools, Part One

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Momvestigation: A national momlogic survey has found that one in five kids has witnessed sex at school.

"One couple at my school gets it on during lunch right near where my friends and I sit. Especially when the girl wears a skirt. It's pretty unappetizing, especially when I'm trying to eat." -- Aubrey, 15, Seattle

Over the past few months, we've been hearing news reports of kids having sex in school -- in the classroom, the school bathroom, even on the bus. As these stories became more and more frequent, we began to wonder if these were isolated incidents or part of a disturbing national trend. We consulted our friends at CosmoGirl! and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and they'd been wondering the same thing. So we decided to do a national survey on sex in schools -- the first study of its kind to be conducted in the United States. We surveyed 500 kids aged 12-17 from around the country. And what we found was shocking: One in five kids has witnessed sex in school.

One in five! Over the next few days, you're going to hear from teens who've seen their friends and classmates having sex at school. You'll also hear from kids who've actually had sex on school grounds. Experts who work with teens on a daily basis -- such as psychologist and momlogic friend Pamela Varady -- will offer advice on how to talk to your tween or teen about staying safe and making smart choices. In this landmark three-part series, our exclusive Momvestigation explores this alarming epidemic. Is your child having sex in school?

Coming Monday: Hear from kids who've seen it firsthand.

About the Experts ...
spacer dr shannon fox
Susan Schulz is
editor-in-chief of CosmoGIRL!
magazine.
rabbi sherre hirsch
Dr. Pamela Varady is a licensed clinical psychologist, couples' therapist and parent educator based in Venice, California.

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next: Anyone Want to Play Chicken...Pox?
98 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lauren November 30, 2007, 12:35 PM

I couldn’t agree more. Kids mimic what they see. The parent need to model the behavior they want to see. And parents need to CONTINUALLY talk to kids about sex. Not just once. When an opportunity comes, parents need to use that opportunity to have a ‘teaching moment’ with your kids. Kids don’t have the established reasoning power that adults have. They don’t see the long-term ramifications of their acts. They live in the here and now. It’s our job to help them understand that sex is never casual no matter what the media likes to put forth. The media has been over-sexualizing children for years. Kids become what they see others do, what is in the magazines and what is in the movies and on TV. But there is an antidote and it’s spelled P-A-R-E-N-T-S!

robin November 30, 2007, 1:06 PM

responding to Terry above, prayer in schools is not the answer. this is happening in Catholic schools, too. Wake up.

Julie November 30, 2007, 1:29 PM

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I work with middle and high school kids and I am a mother of two beautiful teen girls. My suggestion is don’t wait for the opportunity to talk about sex, do it today. Share this story and your concerns, ask them if they have seen or heard of this happening and then let them know your feelings and the boundaries you hope they will have for themselves. One of the biggest eye openers for me was to find out that many kids claim they are saving sex (incourse) for their true love. Oral sex does not count as sex. Friends with benefits doesn’t count as having sex. The emotional disconnect is so sad. Again, thank you for helping to educate parents.

Lulu November 30, 2007, 2:50 PM

As a parent, grandmother and retired teacher I think parents need to take this subject very seriously. I am very concerned for my granddaughter. Schools feel they have more pressing problems to deal with especially academically. We need to look at the whole child and be concerned with their well being academically, emotionally and behaviorally. Parents are the most important influence on their whether teens think so or not.


Michelle November 30, 2007, 3:10 PM

really disturbing that this is happening at school where we think our kids are safe.

Anonymous November 30, 2007, 5:26 PM

You people actually believe what teenage kids are telling interviewers. Think back to your own teenage years when you ruled the world and were indestructible….

Anonymous November 30, 2007, 6:17 PM

why would a teen go on national TV and lie about it? I would think it would be embarrassing to talk about.

RR November 30, 2007, 7:49 PM

I THINK THIS IS THE OUTCOME FROM NOW NOT ALLOWING THE SCHOOL ADM, TEACHERS AND PARENTS(A.K.A PTA)TO HAVE ANY CONTROL OR CORRECTING THESE SITUATIONS, WHY SHOULD A TEACHER BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDS ACTIONS AND IF THEY SHOULD CALL YOU AND TELL YOU THAT YOUR CHILD WAS UNDER THE BLEACHERS HAVING SEX, HOW WOULD YOU REACT? WOULD YOU BELIEVE THEM OR WOULD YOUR CHILD DENY IT AND THE SCHOOL STAFF GET BLAMED. WAKE UP PEOPLE! ASK YOUR SELF COULD YOUR CHILD BE SWAYED TO DO SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN`T? WAKE UP!IF YOUR NOT GOING TO TRUST AN ADULT SCHOOL STAFF, WHO WILL YOU BELIEVE? TEACHERS ARE THERE TO TEACH (NOT TO BABYSIT,REMEMBER ALL VALUES TO OUR COUNTRY,BELIEF HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM OUR SCHOOL WALLS,ARE THEY POSTED AT HOME?)AND AS PARENTS IT IS OUR RESPONSIBLITY TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL TO LEARN WITH RESPECT,RESPONSIBLITY AND VALUES,UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL………

RR November 30, 2007, 7:52 PM

I THINK THIS IS THE OUTCOME FROM NOW NOT ALLOWING THE SCHOOL ADM, TEACHERS AND PARENTS(A.K.A PTA)TO HAVE ANY CONTROL OR CORRECTING THESE SITUATIONS, WHY SHOULD A TEACHER BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDS ACTIONS AND IF THEY SHOULD CALL YOU AND TELL YOU THAT YOUR CHILD WAS UNDER THE BLEACHERS HAVING SEX, HOW WOULD YOU REACT? WOULD YOU BELIEVE THEM OR WOULD YOUR CHILD DENY IT AND THE SCHOOL STAFF GET BLAMED. WAKE UP PEOPLE! ASK YOUR SELF COULD YOUR CHILD BE SWAYED TO DO SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN`T? WAKE UP!IF YOUR NOT GOING TO TRUST AN ADULT SCHOOL STAFF, WHO WILL YOU BELIEVE? TEACHERS ARE THERE TO TEACH (NOT TO BABYSIT,REMEMBER ALL VALUES TO OUR COUNTRY,BELIEF HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM OUR SCHOOL WALLS,ARE THEY POSTED AT HOME?)AND AS PARENTS IT IS OUR RESPONSIBLITY TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL TO LEARN WITH RESPECT,RESPONSIBLITY AND VALUES,UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL………

Monet November 30, 2007, 10:26 PM

In Terry’s defense, she didn’t say this DOES NOT happen in Catholic schools. She said bring back the values…and I think that should wake us all up.

ALice December 1, 2007, 11:13 AM

How can I get a copy of this study. As an educator I would be interested in seeing a break down of the reported numbers.

HeRO December 1, 2007, 2:13 PM

Thank you RR. I am a teacher and we have been stripped of any authority we had. So many parents get angry when we try to correct or discipline their children. They take it over our heads and grossly exaggerate the problem, not to mention give only one side of the situation. We do not get the support or respect we need to keep this from happening in the school. The students show us no respect and when we try to correct them, the parents are either unavailable or get upset with us. Maybe if parents would step up in the home, provide a good example, discuss this with their children then uphold what happens at school we would see less of this happening.

teen mom December 2, 2007, 12:37 AM

I am 17 years old and pregnant and the one thing that dosn’t shock me is this study. I was having sex at a younge age and now the one thing that I wish is that I had saved my virginity,But teen sex has been going on for alot longer than what people realize.

Even in the schools. I’v seen it happen first hand since I was in Junior High.

The major thing about this is that I’m scared of what it’s going to be like when my kid is in school! It scares me because you can’t stop your kid from having sex. I know that one first hand. My dad talked to me about it every time he got a chance!

The major thing is that you need to promote safe sex when you find out that your child has had sex and hope that they will take your advice on not having sex.

Let them know that they can talk to you about this sort of thing because kids don’t only need a parent they need someone that they can confide in that they won’t get in trouble if they go to them about having sex.

Let them know that you are there and are willing to listen to them when they get at the age where they are going to start having sex.

teen mom December 2, 2007, 12:38 AM

I am 17 years old and pregnant and the one thing that dosn’t shock me is this study. I was having sex at a younge age and now the one thing that I wish is that I had saved my virginity,But teen sex has been going on for alot longer than what people realize.

Even in the schools. I’v seen it happen first hand since I was in Junior High.

The major thing about this is that I’m scared of what it’s going to be like when my kid is in school! It scares me because you can’t stop your kid from having sex. I know that one first hand. My dad talked to me about it every time he got a chance!

The major thing is that you need to promote safe sex when you find out that your child has had sex and hope that they will take your advice on not having sex.

Let them know that they can talk to you about this sort of thing because kids don’t only need a parent they need someone that they can confide in that they won’t get in trouble if they go to them about having sex.

Let them know that you are there and are willing to listen to them when they get at the age where they are going to start having sex.

mom of teen sons December 3, 2007, 9:21 AM

Teens having sex in school is NOT surprising to me now. About 6 years ago I got a job in the jr high cafeteria where my sons were going to go … I WAS COMPLETELY SHOCKED & DUMBFOUNDED AT THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE KIDs!!! I was viewed as a fanatic and alarmist by the principal, who I reported to, and by other parents, when I tried to homeschool my boys. My ex used that to gain custody of them. They lived w/ him through their formative adolescent yrs, and when they came back to live w/ me, returned addicted to internet porn, as their dad allowed them access to an unfiltered computer. (which was something all their friends had too, I have recently learned) I have basically lost my children to a society of evil and uncaring people, who have corrupted them w THEIR FREEDOM OF SPEECH and not allowing me the freedom to raise my children w/ FREEDOM FROM speech … internet porn. Why don’t you people who do not seem to care or acknowledge what our kids are being subjected to on the internet wake up? Why are girls dressed like prostitutes, the new accessory in young teens is cleavage, and why do guys think it’s cool to scr** as much as possible…just check out what they’re seeing on anyone’s computer. We have completely ruined this generation…and we need to fix it. Everyone check out CP80, a SOLUTION to internet porn that all moms should fight for.

teach December 3, 2007, 6:08 PM

When we allow our kids to view endless, mindless television, lock themselves in their rooms with the internet and treat them like adults when they’re really only children, they will behave like the images they see in today’s media. They cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy, and attempt to immitate the lifestyles these images present. If you’re not going to keep a vigilant eye out for what they’re looking at, you need to pull the plug.

Josh December 10, 2007, 9:01 AM

Crappy Music.

1 in 5? …yeah right…more like 1 in 30

Joanna December 15, 2007, 6:52 AM

The consequences for inappropriate behavior in schools today are lacking.
Having sex in school is part of a bigger problem of lack of respect for school as an institution and the administration in it. This begins in elementary school when inappropriate behaviors are not corrected and students go year to year breaking rules and disrespecting their peers and teachers. Teachers used to be able to send the second grader to the principal for a paddling when they disrepected a teacher or caused a disruption in the classroom that cheated others out of quality instruction time. Kids behaved because they feared the consequence. Today, they do time out; the least effective consequence for correcting inappropriate behavior. In most cases the time out consequence causes more disruption and learning time lost because if the student doesn’t obey the rules, why would he behave in time out?
Why not have sex in school? What are they going to do us? Suspend us? Who cares?

Joanna December 15, 2007, 6:53 AM

The consequences for inappropriate behavior in schools today are lacking.
Having sex in school is part of a bigger problem of lack of respect for school as an institution and the administration in it. This begins in elementary school when inappropriate behaviors are not corrected and students go year to year breaking rules and disrespecting their peers and teachers. Teachers used to be able to send the second grader to the principal for a paddling when they disrepected a teacher or caused a disruption in the classroom that cheated others out of quality instruction time. Kids behaved because they feared the consequence. Today, they do time out; the least effective consequence for correcting inappropriate behavior. In most cases the time out consequence causes more disruption and learning time lost because if the student doesn’t obey the rules, why would he behave in time out?
Why not have sex in school? What are they going to do us? Suspend us? Who cares?

Zarayah Israel January 5, 2008, 2:37 AM

I am a widow and will remain this way until my son is old enough to live on his own. I have a thirteen year old son that is always fending off girls’ sexual advances. As he already has learned of STDs and “safe sex”, I have chosen to emphasize the spiritual implications of having sex in regard to recognizing his soul mate. I use the image of glass [your soul] which has been shattered [by multitude of relationships] so you cannot clearly see. I use statistics of divorce in this country and real life illustrations of people we know that are joyfully married, and people that have been “players” and are lonely and miserable as they age, and the children that result from these unions to further empasize the sanctity of marriage. My son always talks to me when he has questions about sexual matters. So something is working!


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