driver's ed, sex ed, youth safety, education system flaws

Throughout adolescence, we experience a variety of firsts: a first school dance, first kiss, first job, or, for many, the first time driving. For those of us who learned to drive as teenagers, driver's education, whether through a school or community program, was a rite of passage we had to endure. Driver's ed was to late high school what an introductory sex ed class was to early high school and middle school: absolutely necessary, but, at times, either stunningly boring or rife with anxiety and embarrassment.

Although the high cringe level of both of these educational experiences may seem to sum up their connection on the surface, there exists much more substantive and concerning commonalities between driver's ed and sex ed. Namely, that there are simply too many things we needed to know that these programs deliberately did not teach us.

I recently drew similarities between the two when a friend of mine told me about his experience being pulled over by a policeman for speeding. This friend of mine texted me upset and disgruntled about the fact that the cop reached for his gun upon pulling him over. He proceeded to explain to me that, because he was never taught what to do in the instance of being pulled over, he got out of the car, thinking that was better etiquette than sitting and avoiding the situation. To my friend's (and, later, my) shock, the cop reached for his gun. While, in my friend's case, the misunderstanding was quickly settled, it could have resulted in much more dangerous consequences.

Although the vast majority of us, including my friend, strive to be the safest drivers we can be, people make mistakes and should be prepared to handle high-pressure situations, such as being pulled over, using trustworthy, detailed information to calm and protect everyone involved.

How does this connect with sex ed, then?

Well, throughout my time in the Georgia public school system, sexual education was always taught using an abstinence-only approach. The abstinence-only curriculum utterly and intentionally failed to provide students details about safe sex (such as how to put on a condom or how to access birth control or Plan B) in the hopes that, by not sharing details about what to do in sexual situations, students would simply not have sex at all. Aside from the mere preposterousness of this logic, this curriculum implied that to break the pledge of abstinence was to break the law, so to speak. It left students unaware of how to handle the situations their educators deemed shameful for them to engage in. This seems parallel to driver's ed, in which we weren't directly taught what to do if we found ourselves in trouble on the road-- perhaps for the same desired effect.

Although such a negligent approach to sexual education may not seem comparable to the shortcomings of a generic driver's education program, it's apparent that these educational programs (in my personal experience, at least) taught us using their own standards of "perfection"-- though, of course, their standards are certainly not created equally. While it's essential to teach students to be the most perfect drivers possible, shaming students into being completely abstinent is an unrealistic and unfair standard to hold them to.

Despite the vastly different ethics of driver's ed and sex ed, the point still stands that many of us are not prepared to take proper precautions when we break the educational system's idea of "perfect" behavior, whether incidentally or deliberately. Because our nature is to protect ourselves, we typically don't anticipate getting pulled over, getting in a car accident, or scrambling for emergency Plan B. The task falls upon us, then, to either voice our concerns to our educators or to anticipate scenarios in which we must calmly protect ourselves-- even if it means accepting not being "perfect."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments