Foundations of Education and Instructional Assessment/Sociological Influences/Peers

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Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll By: Sarah Pope
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Introduction:[edit | edit source]

Middle school and high school years are filled with activities. Students can engage in sports, clubs, and perhaps, the year book staff or the school news paper. Unfortunately, many students do not. They face greater challenges than the debate team. They face and fall short against peer pressure. Peer pressure can have both a positive and negative effect on a student. Adolescents base much of their behavior (positive or negative) on either attempting to fit in with a peer group or because they are excluded or rejected by a peer group (usually results in negative behavior). Middle and High school is a time when students are forming their self-image and feelings of ridicule and rejection towards them from other students can lead to feeling of isolation and loneliness. In order to compensate for these feelings students will attempt to find an outlet for their frustration (Lashbrook, 2000). Three common outlets are the proverbial "sex, drugs, and rock and roll". They are compelled to consume alcohol and other drugs; have intercourse at an early age; even reenact the lyrics in their music. Ultimately, conforming to their social culture, many teens succumb to “what their friends are doing”. Their school is where they come to learn. They learn about mathematics, science, English and geography, but they should also learn the facts on drugs, sex and their prevention. As teachers, it is our duty to educate the youth of America. Yet, we can also strive to understand, relate to and reassure the students. All of us have been there before. We bring to the classroom wisdom and experience that students have yet to learn. We can support our pupils and help them conquer the stress that they face daily. First, we must educate ourselves and the students. This will be a prime arsenal needed in this battle of temptation.

Drugs in the school:[edit | edit source]

The use of drugs in the public school system is growing at an alarming rate. According to a survey conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 51% of high school students and 20% of middle school students, said that drugs are used, sold, and kept in their school (Loesevitz, 2008). This not only increases the likelihood that students will engage in substance abuse, but also the probability that students will have a “disrupted educational process” (Loesevitz,2007 paragraph 4). Consequently, this will lead to lower grades, increased failure, and ultimately dropping out of school, which leads to future problems in the road ahead of them. Requiring the schools and teachers to be proactive on this regards, and encourage their students to “be above the influence" before they are introduced to that lifestyle, will have a profound impact on adolescence drug and alcohol use ( Project Northland, a study done in Minnesota, concluded that intervention, social behavior curricula, peer leadership, and parental involvement, beginning in the sixth grade, reduced the number of students in high school abusing drugs (Perry,et al., 1996). Seventy-five percent of our nation’s schools offer Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) programs, but that education focuses on younger students ( The students who face peer pressure to consume alcohol and other drugs do not have such opportunities (Cook, 2007). Legislators are beginning to get involved, and asking schools to start school-based drug programs in their district (Tobler,et al., 2000). A great way to get the truth about drugs across to teens could be as simple as a mandatory “afterschool special." There the students will learn ways to say no to drugs, taught threw a skit or reenactment of a collaborative student created script. Here the kids would also find support, which will help them face their biggest obstacle, each other. However, there is help for those that, despite intervention attempts, fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse. Teen Help is a website available to teens that will guide them away from the downward spiral of alcohol and substance abuse. Also, the shoulder of a caring teacher or counselor can also have an enormous impact on students desperately in need of guidance.

To get help for a teen in your area, click on the following link:

Authors Lizabeth Crawford from Bradley University in IL, and Katherine Novak from Butler University IN, concluded in an article featured in the February issue of The Family Journal that students from broken homes are more likely to engage in substance abuse. These young adults do not receive the support they need at home so they turn to their peers. They get that sense of a family with their friends, this relationship is a double edge sword; where one influences the other (Pope self experience). Substance and alcohol abuse are not the only subjects of peer pressure, but sex as well.

Sex in the classroom[edit | edit source]

Spin the bottle, an innocent game of kissing is just one example of how kids encourage each other's sexual behavior (Jaccard, 2005). Where do kids learn such games: their older siblings or parents? Where do they learn anything on the subject of sex? Schools have implemented a morsel of sex education in to the curriculum, but many questions go unanswered. Teens will turn to each other or pornography for their answers (http;// /sexual behavior.html), two sources that will give distorted answers. In primary school, children often learn about puberty (parent willing) in the classroom. When they arrive in middle school, they learn about reproductive health. That is the extent of public school's sex education (Pope self experience). There are not any classes on how to say no to early intercourse, or what to do if you become pregnant. Kids need to know the following facts about sex and its risks. “According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 25% of sexually active teenagers get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) every year, and 80% of infected teens don’t even know they have an STD, passing the diseases along to unsuspecting partners. When it comes to AIDS, the data is even more chilling -- of the new HIV infections each year, about 50% occur in people under the age of 25.” (http;// /sexual behavior.html) “Each year, almost 750,000 teenage women aged 15-19 become pregnant.”( “The abortion rate among teen's ages 15-17 are 14.5 abortions per 1,000 females in 2000…More than one-third of all teenage pregnancies end in abortion. ( Teens will develop their own cultural normality on sexual behavior, thus teaching them the right way to say no will benefit their well being. Is it the lack of sexual knowledge coupled with a curiosity for sex that urges them to have intercourse? Or is it the music they are listening to?

It is in the Music[edit | edit source]

In the digital age of the twenty-first century, there is no problem getting a hold of popular music. In fact, the average teen listens to 1.5 to 2.5 hours of it daily. Music is important to a growing teen’s identity ( Many social groups are formed around the genre of music its members listen to. However different the music, they all have a common thread: similar themes, like sex run threw them all. So, this question arises: does exposure to sexual lyrics prompt a listener to engage in sexual behavior (Dunbar, 2008)? A national survey done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, on 1461 teenagers found that, when teens listen to music with “degrading sexual lyrics” they are more prone to engage in a range of sexual activities; they also found that reducing the amount of exposure to music with this type of content could help delay the onset of sexual behavior” ( Music has evolved within the past four decades. There are new genre like “gangsta rap”, and “heavy metal," both groups that offer very explicit lyrics to its listener. An alarming conclusion, to a study preformed in Sweden, stated that adolescents that begin to listen to rock music at an early age were more likely to be influenced by their peers ( Like the old saying goes “if you hang out with ducks, you’re bound to get in the water.” The American Academy of Pediatrics urges adults to stress the importance of music and lyric selection in young teen’s music. Music, to the adolescent, helps them deal with many issues they are facing like, friendship, growing up, having fun and struggling (Dunbar, 2008). There are no laws to censor the air waves; only designation of explicit lyrics on the cover of CDs. Teachers can do their part by not allowing it in the classroom, a standard rule in most schools, yet a commonly broken rule. They can also, influence the students to be more selective in their musical choices.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Not all students will rely on their peers for support. Many find guidance and help at home. For the children that are not as fortunate, we as the extended family can have a great impact on their teenage lives, as well as their future. Heading these kids off at the curb and nipping any problems in the bud, will have an enormous impact on their future. I decided to write this article because I was a troubled teen. After my mother remarried and my little brother was born, I did not receive the supervision I needed. Consequently, I ran to my friends for comfort. I abused drugs and cut class. At the end of my high school years, I did graduate, but I was six months pregnant. I don’t think I would have made it to graduation at all if it had not been for the influence of caring teachers. They encouraged me while in class, as well as to continue with my education. Now, nearly ten years later, I have an associate degree and I am currently working on a bachelor’s degree. Someday I will be that caring teacher that will change someone’s life. A new trend among students is forming because of devoted teachers. They are reassessing their music selection and the risks and dangers of sex and drugs. With continued education and mentoring programs, students will be prepared not only for their graduation day, but also to say no to negative influences, and possibly help a friend.

References[edit | edit source]

Above the influence information, retrieved January 30, 2008,

Crawford, Lizabeth, Novak, Kathrine (2008). Parent—Child Relations and Peer Associations as Mediators of the Family Structure—Substance Use Relatioship. Journal of Family Issues, v.29 no.2, pgs. 155.

Cook, Glenn. (2007). Hard Times for Today’s Teens, Families. American School Board Journal, v.195, no.2, pgs. 6-7.

D.A.R.E. Information, Retrieved January 30, 2008,

Dunbar, Sthephen. Teen Sex Apparently Driven By Music, Not Libido. (2008, January 26). New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2007, via Google.Com

Jaccard, James. (2005). Peer Influences on Risk Behavior: An Anaylsis of the Effects of a Close Friend. Developmental Psychology, v. 41 no. 1, pgs. 135-147.

Lashbrook, Jeffery T. (2000). Fitting In: Exploring the Emotional Dimension of Adolescent Peer Pressure. Adolescence, v. 35 no. 140, pgs. 747-757.

Loesevitz, Michael (2007). Random Drug Testing in Public Schools. Journal of Law & Education, v. 36 no. 3, pgs.453-460.

Martino, S., Collins, R., Elliott, M., Strachman, A., Kanouse, D., Berry, S. (1995). Exposure to Degrading Versus Non-degrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth. Retrieved January 26, 2007,

Perry, C., Williams, C., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Toomey, T., Komro, K., Anstine, B., McGovern, P., Finnegan, J., Forster, J., Wagenaar, A., Wolfson, M. (1996). Project Northland: Outcomes of a Communitywide Alcohol Use Prevention Program During Early Adolescence. American Journal Of Public Health, v. 86 no. 7.

Teen Abortions. Retrieved January 30, 2008 via,

Teen Help, Schools for Troubled Teens. January 26, 2008,

Tobler, N., Streke, A., Stackpole, K., Roona, M., Orchorn, P.,Marshall, D. (2000). School-Based Adolescent drug Prevention Programs: 1998 Meta-Analysis. Journal of Primary Prevention, v. 20, no. 4

U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics National and State Trends and Trends by Racs and Ethnicity(2006). Guttmacher Institute, New York. Retrieved January 30, 2008 Via

U.S. Teenage Sexual Behavior. January 26, 2008.

Analysis Questions[edit | edit source]

Questions[edit | edit source]

1. Based on the article, who are teens turning to for unanswered sex questions?

A) Their really cool parents.

B) Their involved schools.

C) Their friends and pornography.

D) The local library.

2. D.A.R.E. stands for what?

A) Drugs Are Really Expensive.

B) Drug Abuse Resistance Education.

C) Drug Assistance Retrieval Education.

D) Does Abuse Really Exist?

3. As a child in the public school system, how would I learn about my changing body?

A) Through a sex education class given in Elementary School.

B) Through a class project assigned by the teacher.

C) By reading the graffiti on the bathroom stalls.

D) By reading a note based around class.

4. As a teen that listens to degrading sexual lyrics in my music selection, I may decide to do what?

A) Have a slammin' party.

B) Rob a liquor store.

C) Dance real funny.

D) Have premarital sex.

5. When assigned to teach a school based drug prevention program in the classroom, my main focus is what?

A) Educate students on drug abuse.

B) Help the students start a drug ring in school.

C) Teach students the definition of prevention.

D) Tell the students where to score the best "stuff".

Answers[edit | edit source]

1. C) Their friends and pornography.

2. B) Drug Abuse Resistance Education.

3. A) through a sex education class given in Elementary School.

4. D) Have premarital sex.

5. A) Educate students on drug abuse.