Does Sex Ed Belong in Your Child’s Classroom?
We send our children to school to learn about reading, writing, math, and wait a minute . . . sex education? The popular culture bombards teens with messages that encourage casual sexual activity at an early age. Parents need to counteract these messages, but does it make sense to put the government in charge of what our children are taught regarding sex?
House Bill 13-1081, proposed by Democratic lawmakers, would add language to Colorado state law defining standards for human sexuality education, and create a program of grants for school districts that want to implement such programs. The program would be run the Department of Public Health and Environment, and the grants would be funded by non-tax sources.
The problem with the government defining the sex education standards is they do not conform to what parents believe should be taught to their kids. The bill defines comprehensive human sexuality education as “medically accurate information about all methods to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections, including HIV and AIDS, hepatitis C, and the link between human papillomavirus and cancer. Methods must include information about the correct and consistent use of abstinence, contraception, condoms, and other barrier methods.”
What’s the difference between the content and messages of “comprehensive” sex-ed curricula, as proposed in House Bill 13-1081, and an authentic abstinence sex-ed curricula? The goal of the comprehensive sex-ed curricula is to reduce the immediate risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy to teens. The predominant focus is on reducing risk by encouraging young people to use contraception. By contrast, the goal of an authentic abstinence program is to encourage adolescents to delay the onset of sexual activity and to help them gain a more mature understanding of sexuality.
Advocacy groups such as the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and Advocates for Youth consistently claim that the public overwhelmingly supports comprehensive sex education. This claim is based on polls that show the public wants students to be taught about both sexual abstinence and contraception. While it is true that most parents want students to be taught both subjects, this attitude does not translate into support for the actual content of comprehensive sex-ed curricula.
Reviewing the content of a comprehensive sexual education program is shocking. Delaying sexual activity is simply not a significant concern in these programs. In fact, some comprehensive sex-ed programs encourage contraceptive use, teach teens how to obtain contraception, and instruct them on how to convince sex partners to use contraception. Most comprehensive sex-ed curricula have teachers demonstrate condom use by unrolling condoms on fingers or bananas. Children are taught what household substances are acceptable to use as lubricants. Human sexuality is presented primarily as a physical phenomenon (such as nutrition) and the predominant focus is on avoiding the physical problems of pregnancy and STD infection. With very rare exceptions, the curricula neither discourage nor criticize teen sexual activity, as long as “protection” is used. Is this what you want your children learning in the classroom?
I believe we need to draw the line on how and what the government dictates is taught to our children regarding sex education. Shouldn’t our schools be achieving acceptable levels of math and reading performance before we spend our grant monies teaching kids that they never need parental permission to obtain condoms?