Sex, drugs and advice on safe choices

Fremont Federation freshmen will learn more about sex and drugs by the end of the year.

For the first time, every freshman at Fremont Federation of High Schools will take courses from the Peer Health Exchange, a program about making positive health decisions.

The 12-14 session program was held at Mandela Academy last year, but this fall it will be brought to Media Academy and Architecture Academy for the first time.  Paul Robeson Academy will not have the program because it does not have freshmen this year.

“I’m really excited about the program,” said Merritt Edlind, a science teacher who is the site coordinator for Peer Health Exchange at Media Academy. “I think it will be amazing for ninth graders to learn about this information from current college students.”

Under the Peer Health Exchange system, college students who are specially trained come into advisories to talk to freshmen about health topics including “Sexual Decision-Making Communication,” “Healthy Relationships,” and “Nutrition & Physical Activity”.

“It’s a nice way to give good, correct information,” said Ana Vasquez, the counselor at Mandela.

Three Mandela sophomores who took Peer Health Exchange last year as freshmen said they are glad they had the experience.

“People are doing wrong things,” said sophomore Jayla Towers, who added she thinks the program should have been started across campus earlier.

Towers and sophomores Erica Winston and Christian Mendoza said the program helps students think twice in making important decisions. They explained that the program taught them about the types of drugs that “mess up your body” and how they damage the body.

The Mandela sophomores said they also learned that the one of the most common diseases at Fremont Federation is gonorrhea.

The program is scheduled to start at Fremont at the end of October.

Students enrolled in Peer Health Exchange will receive pamphlets and cards, which give information on special health clinics that they can visit for testing and resources.

There are also hotline numbers on the cards for students who need help.