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I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri for 12 years of my life. As you would guess, my education was subpar compared to Minnesota even though I went to the top school district in my city. I pride myself on how I've conquered Minnesota's difficult curriculum and managed to keep up even though I was behind. Despite Minnesota's superior STEM opportunities and curriculum, I honestly found my sex education experience to be better in Missouri than Minnesota. Don't get me wrong, Missouri has a load of work to do when it comes to education, especially sex education. However, when I moved here, I noticed my education severely lacking in menstrual education, from the smallest things like how to put in a tampon to bigger disorders like endometriosis and PCOS. My fifth grade teachers taught me how to put in a pad at 9 years old. I moved here in seventh grade and watched men in sperm costumes chase a girl across the street at 12 years old.

My experience with sex education at Prior Lake has not been easy. When I was in seventh grade, some boys poked my back with a pencil because my training bra was showing. This immaturity was not due to sexual attraction nor was it "boys being boys." These boys were taught to disrespect girls and our bodies. Boys and children catch on to stigma and shame. In this case, these boys didn't understand how girls grew or developed, or how painful and draining puberty is; they just knew that, for girls, it was shameful and embarrassing.

The policy outlined in HF 358/SF 632 directly impacts students across Minnesota like me. I ask everyone to consider the lived experiences and overwhelming support of students across our state when voting on this bill. Increased access to comprehensive, shame free, medically accurate, and culturally responsive sex education would improve the lives and overall health outcomes of current and future generations of Minnesotans. Please support HF 358/SF 632.

Sara Lam

Prior Lake