Cross Country Checkup

Why this teen thinks it's important to learn about sex, consent and 'being yourself'

The 13-year-old student from Dartmouth, N.S. called Cross Country Checkup on Sunday to share her perspective on the kind of sex-ed she receives in her province. She said this year, she's learned about sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of consent.

'It teaches the girls that you can say no, and it teaches the boys that no means no," said Zoe Leck

Zoe Leck, 13, called in to explain that she wants to continue learning more about topics such as sex and consent. (Submitted by Heather Hughes-Leck)

Zoe Leck says learning about topics like sex and consent in school has just made her more aware of the world and about life. 

The 13-year-old student, who lives in Dartmouth, N.S., called Cross Country Checkup on Sunday to share her perspective on the kind of sex-ed she receives in her province. She said this year, she's learned about sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of consent. 

Zoe spoke with Checkup host Duncan McCue more about what she learned, and how others in her class have benefited from her school's approach to sex-ed.  

Duncan McCue: I'm curious what you've been learning about sex in your school.

This year we've been learning a lot about consent and being yourself, and our healthy living teacher lets us learn about what we wanted to learn. There were classes where we'd put our anonymous questions in a box. She would read them and answer them to the best of her ability. There were some really good questions and really good conversations. I learned a lot more that way than if we had just learned from the curriculum. Then we had Gr. 9 students come in and talk about what they went through personally. We had the boys and the girls separate for one class, and then we had the boys and the girls together in another class to question the Gr. 9s.

Some folks on today's show said that parents should be responsible for teaching their kids about sex and not the schools. What do you think?

If a parent wants to teach their children certain things then they can. But some parents just don't have the time, or they feel uncomfortable. It's important for kids because if they didn't learn about something, like STDs, then they there would be a lot more people getting STDs because their parents didn't teach them. Teachers are teaching us about them. It's pretty impossible in the school system to not learn about STDs. I learned a lot about them and how not to get them, as well as how to have safe sex and consent. All those things, and that I own my body.

It teaches the boys that you have to have respect and you can't force something because the girls own their bodies, and it teaches the girls that you can say no, and it teaches the boys that no means no.-  Zoe Leck  on why learning about consent is important

There are some people concerned that if you start talking about sex, STDs, and the ways different people have sex, that it encourages kids to have sex. What do you think?

It doesn't really encourage them. The teacher isn't saying, "Go have sex as long as it's safe." They're saying that you have to trust the person, and about consent and respect towards people. I don't think it would encourage me to have sex if my teacher talks about how I could get a life threatening disease from having sex, I probably wouldn't want to have it. I want to have sex when I know the person and if I knew it was safe, and I trusted him. It's important and I don't think it encourages sex at all.

Zoe you mentioned that you've learned about consent. What strikes you about what the boys have learned about consent? Do you think it's important?

It's important. The boys didn't learn anything different from what the girls learned. We are in the same classroom and we watched a video about how you wouldn't shove something down somebody's throat. It's the same thing: you have to ask. It teaches the boys that you have to have respect and you can't force something because the girls own their bodies, and it teaches the girls that you can say no, and it teaches the boys that no means no.

Written by Champagne Choquer. Zoe Leck's comments have been edited and condensed. To listen to the full interview, click on the audio link above.

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