Require health classes for all grade levels in Michigan high schools.
Many people associate school health with nutrition, but it also includes: healthy/unhealthy relationships, bullying, tattoos, piercings, parenting, human growth, sun safety, amount of sleep, exercise, sexual risk behaviors, drugs, tobacco, alcohol consumption, abuse and neglect, self harm or suicide, first aid, injury prevention, social health, emotional health, personal health and wellness, and weapons at home or at school. Educators can't make an impact on students by creating one lesson plan, per topic, for one class, to fit it into one semester or trimester, and most have to leave out certain subjects.
Health is a minor subject within our school system and Michigan needs to let it flourish. Every single person makes multiple decisions regarding health every single solitary day. Core subjects like Math, English, History, and Science, are required to be taught through all grade levels, but Health is required for only a semester or trimester. We can't expect our children to make healthy life decisions if we are not educating them to the best of our ability.
Health does not only apply to the students, but for families as well. What our students learn now, could effect how they raise their future children. A student's action can affect other families as well, such as bullying, drunk driving, or school shootings. Not only are they harming themselves they are putting other children at risk as well.
The CDC stated that the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% in 1980 to 18% in 2008. The CDC also determined in a report that 1 in 11 adolescents reports physical violence and 1 in 5 adolescents reports emotional abuse regarding dating violence and sexual abuse. Even though alcohol and cigarettes are illegal for students, adolescents 12-17 years of age who smoked cigarettes in the past month: 9.1% (2008) and adolescents 12-17 years of age who used alcohol in the past month: 15% (2008). Statistics from 2008, show the teen birth rate at 41.5 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. Lastly, michigan.gov stated in 2002, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year-olds; and the second leading cause of death for college age young people. The problem with that: cyber-bullying is now on the rise which could correlate with a higher suicide rate for years to come. Already, the i-SAFE foundation determined that 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online, and more than 4 out of 10 say it has happened more than once. While, 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online, and more than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.
Health education needs to be required for every grade level in high school. This will ensure that every student has adequate time to absorb, apply, and understand the information presented into their long-term memory instead of their active or short-term memory. To further support that claim, "Helping Psychology" by Brittany Olivarez, stated when it comes down to actual memorization, repeating something five to seven times is enough to set a foundation for long-term improvement in recall. Therefore, current students are at a disadvantage because one semester (or trimester) of health means they are not adequately fulfilling the minimum foundation for long-term recall, because most classes only cover one topic for one or two classes.
Please show care in our children. Together we will stand to better our schools, to better our children's knowledge, and to better our state. Stand up for health education, and be the change which future generations will be grateful for.
If you are reading this while residing in a different state, please feel free to use this petition as grounds to start one in your state as well. The more states that unite in promoting school health, the greater impact we have at making a change.
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