The Importance of Having a Health Class in High School

By Sofia Anna Zullo

At Léman, all sophomore students are required to take a trimester of health class in order to meet graduation requirements. In this class, subjects like; drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sexual health/education, nutrition, mental health, and mental disorders, are taught. Since the course touches on what some may consider “sensitive” topics, it poses the question; Should students be exposed to these topics? When should students learn about this - Middle school or High school?
To answer this question, one must first look at the maturity level of the students. Middle schoolers tend to be more influenced by taboo topics and they could act immaturely. While teaching at a young age can be effective since kids will already be educated on the subject, many middle schoolers cannot relate to the reality of what is really being said in a health class. While the same could be said for some high schoolers, it is inevitable that the topics discussed in class are more relevant to teenagers. Having a class that not only educates students but relates to students is crucial in the high school experience. Therefore, it is imperative that a health class is exposed to high school students. By doing this, many positive outcomes will occur. For example, talking about sexual health will make students understand the risks, know the precautions to take, and most importantly, they will understand their bodies. The same can be said about learning about drugs and their use/abuse. Since teenagers nowadays are heavily exposed to different forms of drugs, it is key that teens are informed on the causes and effects of taking drugs. Additionally, mental health is thoroughly discussed. It is more likely that a high school student feels more stress and pressure than a middle schooler. By learning how depression and anxiety look, students are able to decipher if they see any of the  “symptoms” in themselves. Most importantly, having a school-based health education in high school allows adolescents to acquire basic health knowledge, it helps strengthen their beliefs, attitudes, and the practical skills needed in order to live a healthy life.
In conclusion, to answer our initial question, “Should students be exposed to the topics of a health class?” - Of course they should! If schools refuse to teach these subjects, they will be encouraging the stigma that is imposed on topics that are important for the development of the teenage years. Subjects such as sexual health, drug education, nutrition, and mental health should be normalized and discussed in order to eradicate the negative connotations that revolve around them. Teenagers should be allowed to understand and know about topics that they will come across throughout their teenage years, and a health class does just that!