Students promote safe sex with free resources, advice for fellow students

Lockers of Planned Parenthood Teen Council members like senior Selia Peña have supplies of condoms and other contraceptives, which are provided for free and with no questions asked. Look for this sign in the halls.

While it might come as a surprise to some at Lincoln High School, the truth is that many students have chosen to become sexually active. Along with that choice, many realize that they have a responsibility to practice safe sex.

But where do those students turn? One place is a group of students in the school who can supply free condoms, other contraceptives and information with no questions asked.

Senior Selia Peña runs the Planned Parenthood Teen Council at Lincoln , a group of 15 students who teach Sex Education, and can be found at their lockers where they will supply those looking for help.

The free resources are paired with education on safe sex, which occurs in health classes in the spring. Teen Council teaches comprehensive Sex Ed including consent, healthy relationships, condoms, birth control, and other contraceptives. The education is more than in schools – they also can be found at Planned Parenthood events.

Peña made it clear that she’s very passionate about Planned Parenthood, mentioning that she wants to get rid of the taboo and stereotypes around Sex Ed.

“I’m totally open to any questions,” she said.

Peña, along with Teen Council members, has also begun to talk to health teachers about creating a more comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed curriculum. In a diverse school like Lincoln, Peña stressed the importance of inclusiveness. Teen Council has also gotten permission to teach consent classes to freshmen, teaching healthy relationships, something she feels is a step in the right direction.

¨There’s a lot of sexual assaults …occurring in Lincoln that people just don’t know about,¨ said Peña.

Dr. Timm Goldhammer, health teacher at Lincoln, has had Planned Parenthood adults speak to his classes for 15 years, but feels that teens teaching to peers is an improvement.

“Teen Council makes it much more important to kids,” said Goldhammer.

President Trump’s new policies may have an effect on Teen Council and Planned Parenthood, as he has pledged to defund the organization, but Peña says it is still a grey area at this point. She suggests, however, that students make appointments with Planned Parenthood now, when the care is guaranteed. No matter what Trump’s plans are, Teen Council will remain open and continue education with passion, something that will never go away, she said.

¨Even if something does happen, I am still educated and can help others,¨ said Peña.

Goldhammer agrees, saying that Trump is “not going to change in my classroom,” and that “Planned Parenthood has been on the chopping block all [his] life.”