Teen Ryleigh Welsh Speaks Out
BY JEN PAVKOV
This excerpt is taken from the Jan. 20, 2016 Women’s Fund Facebook post. Catch more crushes every Wednesday at www.Facebook.com/OmahaWomensFund
Today the OPS school board will vote to accept or reject the proposed Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) standards. As we anticipate tonight’s meeting, we are reflecting on the process and must admit we are AMAZED by this community! We are crushing on the passionate, engaged parents, teens, and professionals in Omaha who have worked so hard to let their voices be heard as they advocate for our city’s youth. It has been nothing short of inspiring, and we thank you for joining in our efforts.
We’ve been especially blown away by the youth who have spoken up and beautifully articulated their desire for information that will empower them to make smart decisions as they navigate the bumpy road to adulthood. Ryleigh Welsh and her testimony at the board meeting on January 4 is a great example:
“Comprehensive sexual education is important for every single one of my peers. It is important to have all the information in order to make an educated decision regarding my body and how to take care of it. I have a right to this information. Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, has a right to accurate sexual education. In all of my classes at school, we are given accurate information—ALL of the information—so when our test has a super hard problem on it, we are able to take all the information to determine the best answers. It is the same with sexual health. Information is important for making a decision. Innocence is not the same as ignorance. Ignorant decisions are due to a lack of information. If you only give young people a limited amount of information, they will only have a limited understanding. And in order to stay safe and be the best versions of ourselves, we need comprehensive sexual education. We deserve this. Sexual health is more than sex. It’s about respect and healthy relationships. It is about understanding and taking care of your body and being prepared for a healthy future for you and your relationships. Sexual health needs to be about the big picture.”
Ryleigh, you are brave, smart, bold, talented, and a powerhouse of advocacy. We see you, girl—and we dig you. You are serving as an example to other girls in this community who are striving to reach their full potential, and we commend you for that. Keep it up. We can’t wait to see what your future holds!