This year Canyonlands Healthcare has added Sexual Education to their ongoing Life Choices curriculum. The course is intended as a way for students of Page High School to learn about basic life skills and personal decision making, as well as the outcomes of these choices. One staff member in particular was enthusiastic when they heard about the addition of the new course segment. P.E. teacher Brandy Thompson, the advocate for the addition of sex ed, stated that she felt ecstatic. When interviewed for an article in the Devil’s Diary (Page High School’s newsletter) this past December, Thompson knew the importance of the program, stating that “I don’t think any of [the school board] really knew what life choices was, being they were all new to the district, and I basically brought up how these kids are not getting health in life choices at all.” She also stated that Principal Stanfield was a former health teacher and was supportive of the course curriculum.
For a program like this to be successful, it takes support and faculty allies, which Thompson feels that they have at Page High School. Other teachers have voiced their support. Carol Adamson, a science teacher, stated that she thinks that “…it is a crucial part of student education. Especially on a population that is completely uninformed and has an incredible amount of student pregnancy. In the article, Thompson mentions that 7 of her students last year had become teen parents, and she feels that teaching students about sexual health could be the positive intervention that they need.
It appears that there are already some revelations happening for the students. When learning about healthy and unhealthy relationships, a piece of the basics of sexual health, some girls came up to Brandy Thompson and said that they think they might be in unhealthy relationships, applying what they’re learning to their own lives. Students are having mixed reactions, many of which are embarrassed, some are terrified to learn the ins and outs of sexual health, but many still are excited.
Canyonlands Healthcare has a clinic in Page, and offers a Penny Lane program that provides confidential visits for teens that are free or low–cost, depending on an individual’s income, and provides services for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), birth control, as well as other reproductive health related services. To find more information on the clinic, go to the locations section of the Arizona Family Health Partnership website.