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Editorial: Timely Teachings


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Position Statement: Health class should be moved from sophomore year curriculum to freshman year in order to help inform and prepare younger students for issues they face in high school.

 

Walking into the halls of SC, freshman are introduced to an environment that is completely different from that of their junior high school. Students are exposed to a different school setting, where sex, drugs and mental health issues are more prevalent than in their previous school.

Health class at LT is typically offered to sophomores, or junior and seniors, if they have not taken or did not pass the class. According to LT’s Academic Program Guide, the course covers “human anatomy and physiology; mental health (including death education); substance abuse; nutrition; chronic and infectious diseases (including AIDS education); human sexuality; and first-aid.”

Topics such as mental health, substance abuse, and human sexuality are prevalent topics for of any high schooler, not just sophomores and older. When freshman aren’t educated about these topics, they make uninformed decisions regarding them because they don’t have the skills, tools or knowledge to deal with them.

The issue of drugs and substance abuse have been problematic in recent years. Last school year, 3,500 LT students took the Youth Survey to collect data on the school’s mental health and substance abuse tendencies. According to the survey, 29 percent of the freshman class had tried vaping, as well as 46 percent of the sophomore class. The data collected separates LT apart from any of the 31 schools in Cook County that also took the survey. These rates, in addition to others, are shockingly high and concerning. This, alone, proves that LT has a drug and alcohol problem that needs to be addressed somehow. By implementing health class into freshman year studies, freshman have a chance to make healthier lifestyle choices, and these numbers will subsequently decrease.

Additionally, the Youth Survey depicted another issue at LT: mental health. Thirty five percent of the junior class reported that they experienced sadness or hopelessness every day for two weeks. While this is in line with the surrounding area schools, mental health issues are not always addressed early enough. Many mental health problems, such as depression, can be manageable especially when caught early.

More issues that high schoolers deal with involve sex and relationships. LT’s health class covers sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, as well as spotting domestic abuse and learning what constitutes a healthy relationship. The fact that issues like these are talked about is one of the best parts of the health curriculum here. However, freshmen also face these issues and are in desperate need of this knowledge earlier than sophomore year.

LT’s health class offers a lot of beneficial knowledge about these topics, as well as many others. However, in order to combat current issues that our school faces, we believe that health class should be transitioned into the freshman year curriculum.

This change could occur seamlessly; instead of having two semesters of gym freshman year, have one semester of gym and one semester of health. Even a change as minimal as this could help decrease drug and alcohol problems, in addition to others. Freshman are mature enough to handle the content of the class, and therefore should be educated on these topics earlier in their high school careers.

Everyone knows that LT has a problem with substances and mental health. However, these problems haven’t been addressed in the most obvious and easy way. Even as small as a switch in when a class is taken may decrease the numbers of students acting in a way that harms their bodies.

Staff Vote: 13-11

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The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years
Editorial: Timely Teachings