Who is Responsible for Sex Education?
Joseph A. Marco
22 July 2010
Public schools systems have been implementing sexual education into their classrooms as a regular part of instruction for decades. Ongoing controversies exist when dealing with this issue whether sex education being taught in the public schools or whether it should be considered the responsibility of the parents. It seems most parents are either for or against it and very rarely are they standing on middle ground. Given the statistics does it matter who teaches the children of the United States the basics of sex education? Children should receive a basic unbiased and informative sex education in school, ...view middle of the document...
Where in Europe it is not, parents, their children, and educators all discuss sex as a way of life. Also parents can spend a lot of time in denial. They don’t want to accept their child has grown up and nor do they want to accept the fact that they may be or become sexually active. Parents just in being parents just don’t want to know if their child is having sex.
A 2004 poll taken by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government found 93 percent of American’s believe that sex education should be taught in the schools. Still, while surveys show that most Americans want sex education taught in schools, the content of that education is under constant scrutiny. Many parents are still against it simply because they don’t like or agree with how it is taught.
In Massachusetts a father was furious in 2005 when his 5 year kindergartner showed him a book he had brought home from school. “Who’s in a Family?, by Robert Skutch. The picture book portrayed contemporary family structures, including those headed by same-sex parents. The father argued that it was part of a “homosexual agenda” that didn’t belong in the classroom.
The mother of an Estabrook second grader complained about a book her son’s teacher read to his class, “King and King” by Linda De Haan. The story of a prince interested in a prince’s brother.
Parent’s opinion weighs heavily in sex and character education programs nationwide. Conflicts like the ones described above arise about every year. In many states parents are given the right to have their child not participate in sex education classes in public schools. At the same time these parents should ensure their child receives the necessary information.
One in five teachers believes that restrictions on sex are preventing them from meeting the needs of their students. The majority of teachers believe that topics such as birth control methods and how to obtain them, the correct way to use a condom, sexual orientation, and factual and ethical information about abortion should also be taught by the end of 12th grade.
Currently, 35 states mandate either sex education or education about HIV/AIDS and other STI’s, but their laws tend to be very general. Eighty-six percent of the public school districts which have a policy to teach sex education require that abstinence be promoted. Some 35% require abstinence to be taught as the only option for unmarried people and prohibit the discussion of contraception altogether or limit discussion to its ineffectiveness. More than half of the districts in the South with a policy to teach sex education have an abstinence only policy, compared with one in five of such districts in the northeast.
When it comes to teaching sex education in schools it is not really a teachers choice as to the content. Because schools receive federal funding they are dictated as to what will be taught. There are three federal programs...