"Ignorance is bliss/"tis folly to be wise," ends the poem An Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College, written by Thomas Gray in 1747 (Gray). As it was true for the time, his statement continues to live on in American society. Everyday people look ignorantly away as murderers, molesters and terrorists threaten humanity. Ignorance is over-powering, like cancer is to the body, slowly taking over and destroying everything it can latch onto. How long will we let this continue? Every sixty seconds a child dies of AIDS in the world and each year in America one million teenage girls become pregnant. Another twelve million people become infected with a sexually transmitted disease in the United States alone (United States). Not all of these problems can be cured, but there is a way to control these occurrences. Sex education programs in public schools throughout America are not comprehensive. With the public limitations on what can be said or shown to students, teachers have found it difficult to teach informative lessons on sex education. Also, more open-minded attitudes and the availability of contraception within schools are needed for a decrease in pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections among teenagers.
Comprehensive sex education programs in public schools are continuing to be ridiculed and banned. In 1998 at Kanai Peninsula, Alaska, Homer High School sex educators were told that they were no longer allowed to "display" condoms in the classroom ("Condoms put- 15). The school was trying to follow suit with the other schools in the district. Many people disagree with not allowing teenagers to see condoms at school, seeing that "about half of all teenagers between the ages of fifteen and nineteen have had sexual intercourse" (Jakobson 47). How can teenagers use the proper contraception when they have no idea what it looks like? Not only are teenagers having intercourse at younger and younger ages; more teenage girls are becoming pregnant.