What Teachers Can Do to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Even if They Can’t Talk About Sex in the Classroom!)

Chris Hinkle 

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 4 in 10 teens have never thought about how a pregnancy would affect their lives. Yet, 1 in 4 girls will become pregnant by the time they reach age 20.

To help knock down the teen pregnancy rate, the National Campaign wants teachers and parents to step up their prevention efforts throughout May—Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.

Here are three ways to empower teens to think critically about how unprotected sex can affect their future—regardless of your school’s sex-ed policy.

1. Let students hear from their peers.

Kids With Kids” shares the stories of three high school students who traded in their carefree teen lifestyles for major responsibility: Early parenthood. The profiles of Deven, Dominique, and Luis will open your students’ eyes (male and female!) to the extraordinary financial, social, and emotional struggles faced by teen parents. And it’s 100% PG—without any mention of sex or contraception.

2. Be direct.

For teachers whose schools do allow sex education, check out our birth control supplement. The printable PDF includes candid lessons from the teens profiled in our “Kids With Kids” story, a breakdown of 10 different contraception options, plus a birth control FAQ—all designed to grant teens the knowledge they need to stay in charge of their future. 

Students can also take this interactive quiz that will challenge them to think about the heat of the moment before they’re in it. 

3. Communicate with parents.

Can’t discuss sex in your health classroom? If you already have a good dialogue with your students’ parents, use the Campaign’s awareness month efforts as an excuse to share these resources with them. Make it clear that you want to help them start an important conversation that will ultimately benefit their kids. To emphasize that you’re not passing any judgment on them, their teen, or their family values, try using neutral language like this:

“While we do not cover sex education in our classroom, I came across these resources, which I wanted to share. Teens consistently say that parents most influence their decisions about relationships and sex, so these tips can help guide you through a rational, less awkward conversation when and if the topic comes up."  

The more teens know about the consequences of unprotected sex and how to prevent them, the more likely they’ll be to wait until they’re truly ready to take on the responsibility of raising a child.