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The future of sex education for some classrooms across the country is up for debate as President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget allocates a majority of funding towards abstinence-centered programs. Abstinence education is already required in Kentucky schools, where many high school students will encounter it in their mandatory health class. There, the classroom experience can end up being very different for female students compared to their male counterparts.

Megan Durbin is a few years removed from her sex education class at Calloway County High School, but she remembers it like it was yesterday. As a freshman she and the other girls were in separate classroom as a guest lecturer passed around a rose, telling each girl to remove a petal.


Alexandra Kanik

McKenzie Cantrell is an employment lawyer affiliated with the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic, in Lexington, Kentucky, where she works with low-income refugees and immigrants to uncover instances of wage theft and income disparities. Cantrell, who is also a state representative for part of Jefferson County, Kentucky, travels and gives presentations about employment law, wage theft and what workers' options are if they have problems with compensation.

“Sometimes you can just see on someone’s face, the fact that they have lost money over the course of their career, and it really affects you as someone who doesn’t want to see working people lose money and struggle in a low-income job,” Cantrell said.

Many of Cantrell’s clients work in the service and construction sectors, and many are women and minorities.