A Letter From the Editors: The Need for Health Class in High School

While AP and honors courses are the priorities of a many students’ schedules, there is one class often left neglected and forgotten: health.

Ignored, or not seen as an important subject, health class in high school is overshadowed by apathy and disinterest. But, increasing amounts of evidence from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in most U.S states, essential sex education topics are not being taught in many American schools.

This leaves students uninformed or, worse: misinformed about the information they receive from varying media sources.

The lack of a truly instructional sex-ed class will prove to be a major disadvantage in the well-being of students well into college or their personal careers.

Especially because a sex-ed class dives into measures taken to ensure safe sex and to understand the reproductive organs in a salutary manner, it is often avoided as an option for students in an attempt to shelter “children” from mature educational material when, in reality, it is crucial to understand.

At PVHS, a health class is needed to ensure that students are well-informed about their own bodies. Although the class may not seem like the obvious choice for students, its contents may have a more lasting and impactful effect on a student’s future than those taken for the sake of a college application.

A health class should not be restricted to a student’s middle school years; it should also be included as an option for high school students.

The one mandatory trimester of health class in middle school does not provide sufficient information about sex-ed, instead placing a focus on dietary consumption and physical well-being. And, in most cases, students in high school only get the opportunity to inadvertently learn about the reproductive system if they choose to take a biology course.

However, time and time again, taking a health class in high school shows a numerous amount of related benefits.

A health class provides pertinent information, such as in-depth knowledge about diseases and the importance of vaccines. It can also raise awareness of safe sex through the use of contraceptives.

Further, it can facilitate an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance when it comes to sexuality and gender identity.  But most of all, it sets a precedent for good habits into adulthood, exploring the emotional and mental health of teenagers, as well as preventative measures that may become crucial in a student’s future health.