Justin Lalputan, Broadside Correspondent

Last week, I was browsing the Internet when I came across an article that was talking about teenage pregnancy. Apparently the rate of pregnancy is on the rise again, despite a decreasing trend in the past couple of years.

Citizens and officials have become concerned with the statistics, and now, debates about what should or shouldn’t be taught in the classroom are raging once again.

Parents of the more conservative nature are against students being taught how to use birth control in the classroom. They feel that if they don’t teach students how to properly partake in safe sex, then the students will simply not have sex.

Yes, if someone is abstinent, then he/she knows that there is a zero percent chance of them getting a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection. It is also true that if someone is abstinent, they will not get pregnant.

However, in today’s society, it is simply not realistic to say that teenagers will not have sex if they are not taught how to do it safely.

Look at the culture that America has today. Almost everything has some sort of sexual appeal involved. From Lil Wayne telling girls to “lick it like a lollipop” to Pitbull telling girls to “forget about your boyfriend and meet me in the hotel room,” it’s clear that there are definitely influences out there that can persuade teens to have sex.

When I was in high school, I was never really taught about birth control, they told me to use a condom, but they never explained anything to me. I was pretty much on my own when it came to figuring things out. My school was more focused on abstinence, which again, is not always that effective.

For some reason, some educators think that if they teach teens about birth control, they will be essentially telling them that it’s ok to have sex and they should do it. So, as a solution, they simply tell kids not to have sex. This tactic is ineffective.

As I stated before, society and pop culture have already told teens that it is ok to have sex, so it really doesn’t matter what educators say.

What they should be doing is teaching teens how to avoid spreading or contracting STDs, STIs and getting pregnant.

When it comes down to it, teens are going to do what they want. If they want to have sex, the best thing that educators can do is to try to teach them to prevent future complications, not lecture teens on why they shouldn’t be having sex, because that simply won’t work.

Sadly, in reality, this issue will probably be debated for many years to come before we see any real progress. When it comes down to it, this is an ideological conflict with both sides determined not to give way.

However, I think that there is another voice that teens should listen to more than pop icons or educators, and that is the voice of their parents.

Parents alone have the power to sit a teen down and actually tell them what they should or should not do. I know that some teens don’t have the best relationship with their parents, so maybe the burden can fall upon another relative.

The point I’m trying to make is that while it is important that safe sex practices be taught in class as opposed to abstinence, it is just as important for parents or guardians to have “the talk” with their teens.

If parents can get through to their teens, then hopefully this trend of teenage pregnancies will go back down and teens can keep being kids for a little longer.

Otherwise they might end up like Carmen Sauceda, a 17-year-old Dallas native, who told ABC News, “I don’t feel like an adult. But now, I have to act like one for my child.”