The Millennium Fellowship is a semester-long leadership development program that takes place on campus.
Brooklyn Wiens and Dylan Babcock are members of the Millennium Fellowship. Their project goal is to provide quality and inclusive sexual education schools here in Topeka.
“I wanted to work on this project because one of my biggest values is education. Many people in this country have sadly forgotten about the importance of providing quality education to our youth. I also greatly value equality, and for far too long, the LGBTQ+ community has been discriminated against in many different ways. Sexual education, in my opinion, is one of those things. I want all students, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or socioeconomic status, to be provided with the information they need to know about STDs, STIs, and having safe, consensual sex.” said Babcock.
Wiens spoke about the current curriculum in Kansas regarding sex education.
“Here in Kansas, they don't really teach you about any of that stuff, and when they do, it's all abstinence based, which means that they basically preach to you if you want to get pregnant, don't have sex, but there's so much more to that," said Wiens.
The organization is based in Topeka, and aims to implement adequate sex education in all schools, accessible to all students.
“Our overall goal is to see that Shawnee County schools' students are provided with quality and inclusive sexual education. So that's where our project is primarily focused. But with the interviews and research we've done so far, we think we'll need to see some changes made at the state level first. So, we are directing some focus at advocating at the state level as well.” said Babcock.
Wiens and Babcock have been trying to reach out to state politicians but have found both Democrat and Republican school officials are reluctant to discuss sex education.
"Democrats are more open to possibly talking about sex education, but we're appalled to see that it doesn't matter what political party or what you know, what you believe in. For some reason, principals and leaders don't want to talk about sex. That's very alarming and should definitely be addressed because they're putting kids at risk for not only pregnancy but sexually transmitted disease and stuff and that's on their hands. It's clear that they just don't want to talk about it." said Wiens.
Lee Norman, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, has expressed interest in meeting with Wiens and Babcock.
“We have a governor who seems to be appointing people who are knowledgeable about the medical field. Lee Norman is the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and environment. He is really trying to have sex education brought into schools," said Wiens.
Wiens said that their organization is striving to promote an environment where no one is embarrassed to talk about sex education in schools, and they hope to facilitate an open and honest discussion.
Edited by Jada Johnson, Adam White, Jessica Galvin