Tosa Schools Need to Update Their Sex Ed Curriculum


Evelyn Skyberg Greer

Tosa Schools Need to Update their Sex Ed Curriculum graphic by Evelyn Skyberg Greer

Evelyn Skyberg Greer, Editor

Approximately 75 Tosa East students walked out of school on Friday December 10th in protest of how the district handles sexual assault. The walkout was a response to lack of appropriate administrative action when it comes to instances of sexual assault. After the walkout, I pondered my own experiences of our Human Growth and Development classes in Tosa schools, and it’s clear to me that the Wauwatosa District does not do enough when it comes to teaching students about sexual and dating violence and training them on the issue of consent. 

As we started the growth and development unit in my health class this year, we began watching a 20-year-old video called Life’s Greatest Miracle made in 2001. This video had previously been built into middle school Human Growth and Development curriculum, and me and most of my classmates had already watched it in 7th grade, which was revealed when the teacher asked if anyone had seen the video before. The video only covers straight and cis-gender relationships, and spreads generic false and exclusive ideas about attraction and sex. Much has changed in the world in the past twenty years, yet the Human Growth Development curriculum has remained stagnant. And why? According to data from End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin from 2019, 1 in 5 Wisconsin teens report having experienced some form of dating violence. Additionally, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime. Yet our district’s health curriculum spends little to no time addressing this. 

After watching Life’s Greatest Miracle, we read a short story and participated in a scenario that was mainly focused on bringing to light the problems of spreading STD’s. 

In the scenario story, a girl named Nora is in a relationship with a boy named Jake, a boy who is one year older than Nora and on his way to college.  While Jake  is away she becomes close with one of his friends named David. During a night of heavy drinking, David tries to have sex with her. Nora refuses, but they “eventually have sex”, as stated in the story. A few weeks after this happens, David tells Nora  that he has an STD that he exposed her to. Meanwhile, Nora’s boyfriend  comes back to town, and they have sex. Nora does not tell Jake that she was exposed to an STD. After they have sex Jake tells her that he is breaking up with her due to the struggle of having a long distance relationship. 

After the class was presented with this scenario, we as students were told to rate the characters from the story from 1 (the person who acted in the best way) to 5 (acting in the worst way.) There were also two secondary characters mentioned in the story, the girl’s mom and her friend (Kate) who do not get heavily involved in the situation. I believe the exercise may have been intended to help show students an example of non-consensual intercourse. To my surprise, the majority of my classmates rated the people in the scenario the following way…

  1. Jake (acted the best)
  2. Kate
  3. Mom
  4. David
  5. Nora (acted the worst)

Do you see the problem? If you don’t, I will clear up the confusion. Although the story does not directly say it, I can easily infer that David raped Nora. She did not consent to having sex with him, and although the story does not say specifically that he raped her, she refused his advances. Sex is not consensual unless both party members clearly say yes. Nora did not say yes. Yet, the majority of my classmates rated Nora as being the person who acted the worst.

Secondly, Jake, Nora’s boyfriend, was clearly using her for sex. He broke up with her AFTER having sex with her, which is very problematic. 

The issue of ignorance when it comes to rape and sexual assault was especially transparent after hearing the responses from my peers. 

I am not entirely blaming the students who rated the characters in this way. But as a student myself, I see a large gap in our Human Growth and Development education and I hold the district accountable for not including a curriculum that rigorously discusses consent, rape, and teen relationship violence. If we do not explicitly teach students what consent is, more occurrences of rape and dating violence are going to happen.

The students’ reaction to the STD scenario done in class is evidence that more consent education is needed. The video Life’s Greatest Miracle that we watched is evidence that our health curriculum needs a dramatic update.

There’s work to do that can have a great impact to students’ understanding of consent and sexual violence, and it won’t take much. In fact, there are many resources readily available. For example, The Waukesha Women’s Center will send out a representative to talk to students about intimate partner violence free of charge. They also offer training and presentations designed to challenge myths and stereotypes about domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and human trafficking. 

According to their website,, “We partner with area schools (grade schools, middle schools, and high schools) and youth groups to provide age appropriate and engaging educational sessions that address the topics of healthy and unhealthy boundaries, warning signs of abuse, power and control in relationships, consent, and additional resources within the community.” The WWC provides a community education request form available here.

Additionally, many online resources can be found in the following videos, which present issues of consent in an accessible way for high schools students:

Lastly, A Consent Toolkit created through a partnership between youth and subject matter experts from the fields of education, public health, sexual violence prevention, domestic violence prevention, and youth development in Wisconsin can be found at: 

There are so many things we can be doing to improve our current Growth and Development curriculum. We need to demand a better sex education from our district, comment below what you want to see changed.