Saturday, March 28, 2009

AIDS in the District

I need to write this down before I forget it happened. On Tuesday, in Government, I taught the students of the current problems with AIG and how the government is asking them to pay back money they are handing out to bonuses because it is not fair to the American people that their tax dollars is going into the hands of wealthy AIG executives (AIG was infused with 170 billion tax dollars from the bailout bill).

While we were looking at the paper, another article jumped out to my 4th period class. It was about AIDS in the District. The overall percentage in DC is 3%. This isn’t a simple random sample, but the actual number of individuals who have been tested and are positive, compared to the total population. One in 10 individuals between the ages of 40-49 has aids in DC. The rates in some parts of DC are higher than in Africa. This is insane!

Well, this peaked the students’ interest, so instead of moving on into our planned debate, we dove into this article. I opened up the question, “How can you as residents of the District change this?” The responses are probably what you would expect from a group of urbanized seniors. Condoms, safe sex, birth control (we discussed how that wouldn’t help too much), not sleeping around. Students discussed disseat of partners and brought up the gay issue. Students at Ellington have friends and parents with HIV. They know those who have died. This issue scares them. Unfortunately, they have lived through this and had personal experiences to provide. We talked about this for a good fifteen minutes. Then, as the subject took a turn for the worst, I got their attention and told them it was time for me to put a plug in. I stared at the talkative back corner of the room until they new I was serious and their soft chuckles stifled. With one extended finger in the air, I explained that there is only one way to completely prevent this epidemic. I passionately told them that abstinence was the only way. I explained that it might not be “cool” and it is definitely not the cultural norm, but it is right and it will work to prevent this. I went on to tell them that one day when speaking to their spouse of their past, they will be ashamed for the amount of people they have slept with and even the amount of people they have kissed. It might be cool to speak lightly about it now, but one day they will regret it. I went on to tell them how we have been desensitized in our society into thinking intimate relationships are no big deal and expected. We discussed how pornography and intimacy outside of marriage ruins marital relationships and the minds of those who see it. We spoke about these effects on the family unit. It is everywhere—soft porn on facebook, porn in the halls of DESA—it’s everywhere. Again, passionately, I drove in my point that they will regret their careless attitudes toward sex and that all problems within our society has streamed from this widely accepted phenomenon.

I guess they could tell how serious I was because some of them started clapping. A girl (has been dating a guy in the class for over two years) shared why it is important to wait until marriage for her. Others nodded as I spoke, urging me on and knowing I wasn’t casting something so precious before individuals who had no intentions of listening. I hope that our discussion of HIV had some type of an impact on the students and that they will protect themselves from the AIDS epidemic in the District. I guess it really is possible to share my beliefs in the classroom in an appropriate way, because, let’s be honest, I basically testified to them of the importance of keeping the Law of Chastity and the blessings of living a moral life. Whoops…

11 comments:

Mel said...

You, my friend, are awesome...that's all there is to it :)

Caroline said...

What an amazing young lady you are! Way. To. Go! See you at Cecy's wedding!

Justin and Coralie said...

We think you're doing a great job as a teacher... and woops about the chastity slip. I feel great about it though. Good job, teacher!

Nicole Dyer said...

HOORAY! Amber the conquering hero! Put an end to the AIDS epidemic!! I wish I were teaching. Isn't it so so fun?

Linze Kate said...

I'm proud of you, Amber - you are really a light giver... You are amazing!
All teachers have put in their own little plugs when appropriate, and I think you handled this debate beautifully.
I miss you, friend... :) *muah*

P.S. When do you come back to Utah? When do you start BCing in Rexburg?

Mindy said...

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Some of those students, you will have changes their lives forever. KEEP IT UP.

The life of a college girl said...

Amber that is AMAZING!!!! Look at you being a fabulous teacher!!! I love you!!!! :D

browneyedgirl said...

You are so cute! It is so impressive to me that you are always willing to stand up for what you believe in, I am sure you changed some lives in that class! Love you!

mums said...

You go, girl!

Susie said...

you go girl! Share that Gospel...and so what if it's breaking church and state...I mean, uh...

So proud of the teacher you are. proud to be your roommate too.

Amy said...

You're awesome Amber. Like really. And I am so excited for you to be here soon!!!!! There may even be a small sweet treat waiting for you :)