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Four Palm Desert High School students are standing up for sex ed so that their entire school can get all of the information they need to make healthy choices in their lives.

“My mom was always open since I was a young age about reproductive health so I know how important it is for a person to have all the info they need,” Alyssa said.

Students at this school are given the basics required by the state including anatomy, STIs, healthy relationships and consent during a two-week course in biology. But there are some holes in the system this group wants to address.

“We know there is so much more to learn and explore within sex and two weeks of education just isn’t enough,” Catie said.

They want to make sure students are taught more in-depth on all of these topics plus students need more information about healthy relationships and gender inclusivity.

What’s more, some students can opt out of biology meaning they wouldn’t even get the two-week basics course.

To remedy this situation, the four students banded together and lobbied the school to address these gaps with no success.

The students decided to solicit some help from the local education team from Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest who have been advising them on the best way to raise their voices to get more and better sex ed taught at their school.

Through this collaboration, they created the Palm Desert Peer Youth Advocate group.

“As a group, we believe it’s critical for students to have all the information they need about their sexual and reproductive health to make health decisions for their lives and their futures,” Libby said.

The group created posters on topics not covered enough by the sex ed curriculum including consent, birth control methods, and menstruation. They also asked to bring in a sex ed expert as a guest speaker. But these requests have been idling at the district offices.

Meanwhile the Palm Desert Peer Youth Advocates decided to raise money to support Planned Parenthood’s services by crocheting penises, breasts, hearts, and uteruses to sell at local events including the Reel Women’s Film Festival held October 15 in Palm Springs with more events planned for the future.

They have also been tabling at back-to-school events in Palm Springs and Coachella where they are sharing resources for parents on how to talk to their kids about sexual and reproductive health.

“We didn’t realize how much the schools limited people’s knowledge by limiting sex ed,” Alyssa said. “Some people at these events didn’t know the basics about reproductive health and that really opened my eyes about how important it is to advocate for sex ed in our community.”


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