Sexuality, drug use and nutrition discussed with students
Health education has been a requirement for the Eagle County School District since the early 1980s and as kids and society change, some of the discussions have, too.
Many of the basic elements, however, stay the same. Susan Scott has taught health at Eagle Valley High School for decades and many of her former students have said her class is equivalent to some of the college fitness, wellness and human sexuality classes they’re required to take as freshmen.
“Susan’s class was extensive and interesting,” says former student LaVina Beveridge, who is now a registered nurse. “She was approachable and very frank about teen issues – she was always right on target. The class is invaluable.”
Health class was originally for high school sophomores, but freshmen are now required to take a semester of health. Topics covered include fitness, wellness and nutrition.
Students learn how to monitor fitness and create a personal exercise program they can follow on a monthly basis. The muscular system and skeletal system are also taught and students learn how to plan a nutritional diet.
Then there’s the sexuality classes which kick off with students watching a film called “Teenage Father.” The students discuss all the ramifications of being a teen parent and they look at the psychological, societal, family, financial, ethical and medical implications.
In most cases, students realize that they are not ready to face all of those complicated issues.
“Human sexuality is more than just the biology part of a relationship,” says Scott. “We discuss all the important points that go into a meaningful relationship – a committed relationship in marriage.”
Scott says while she realizes there are many alternative lifestyles, everything in her class is based on marriage. Class discussions revolve around the importance of values, biology, knowledge, future ambitions and personal history in a committed relationship. The importance of forming a strong identity before having a relationship is also discussed. Abstinence, boundary setting and dating are also covered.
Drugs, tobacco and alcohol – and peer pressure – are also discussed. Students practice how to deal with real-life encounters with drugs and alcohol.
“If you have already set your boundaries, it’s easier to say “no’ to sex or drugs,” explains Scott. “The most important things students of this age should be doing is getting their education, building friendships and building and maintaining relationships with family members.”
An added bonus of the class is that students learn how to perform CPR on infants, small children and adults. They also learn how to help a person with an obstructed airway. The Western Eagle County Ambulance service team, along with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, participates in the classes.
Scott says he tries to stay on top of changing trends. While the overall curriculum hasn’t changed much over the years, the use of “club drugs’ such as ecstasy is one of the issues that’s currently addressed in class. Scott says kids talk more freely about drug use.
Freshman Mike Medsker took the class last semester. “I learned quite a bit. Mrs. Scott did a good job of teaching us all of the information and I felt really comfortable in her class,” says Medsker.
For more information on programs and classes at Eagle Valley High School, call 328-8960.