At the Young Men’s Forum held today, sex education has been identified as one of the main issues concerning local male students in the Illawarra.

The forum, held at the Wollongong Youth Centre, highlighted the needs of young men in the Illawarra through the ideas of a group of year 10 boys from Illawarra Sports High School.

“We want better sex education in schools, we’re not learning enough about it!” said a brave student to the panel of local councillors including Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.

The students also raised their concerns about young men not knowing the responsibilities of relationships and the issues surrounding teen pregnancy.

“There were some things that came out of left field that really impressed me today such as their compassion for refugees, wanting better sex education in schools, wanting equality for all sexual orientations and a need to get in touch with the elderly community,” said Mr Bradbery.

Another member of the panel, Councillor Bede Crasnich said that he was also impressed with the students, saying, “those kids are a lot more aware than when I was in high school.”

The students also noted that better youth events, more public transport, a safer community and a clean environment were at the forefront of their needs.

The students presented the idea of a junior film festival to the panel, where primary school aged children could make short films and show the community.

“The youth of the Illawarra don’t often get a chance to give opinions in the community; it’s good to get a response from people that are high up,” said Josh Smithers, a student at the forum.

“The fact that these issues have been raised means it will get to the health and education systems and something might be done,“ said Mr Bradbery.

Words by: LORRAINE HUDSON
Video: ANDREW PEARSON
Photos: DALE ROOTS

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