The Importance of Sex Education in Today's Schools

Topics: Sex education, Sexual intercourse, Human sexuality Pages: 8 (2427 words) Published: September 13, 2014
Rebecca Rogness

November 18, 2013


K. Burchett

Paper 3: Argument

Word Count: 2,114

The Importance of Sex Education in Today's Schools

"What did you learn about in school today honey?" "Oh, we did some proofs in Geometry, practiced past tense verbs in Spanish, and learned about sexually transmitted diseases in Health class." Suddenly, all goes silent, and the subject is quickly changed to something else. One of the most controversial issues facing today's schools is whether or not sexual education, or "sex ed," should continue to be taught to children. On one hand, some argue that it should, because children need to be properly educated on this topic and the potential consequences that can result from it. However, many others oppose this viewpoint, arguing that sex ed is a personal subject for parents to discuss with their children, and therefore does not belong in an academic setting. While both of these viewpoints have their strengths as well as their limitations, it is extremely important for sex ed to continue to be taught in today's schools. Not only will students be properly educated on how to prevent negative sexual outcomes, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unintended pregnancies, but also on the wide range of topics related to sexual health, such as communication, relationships, and decision-making. Overall, sex education has both physical as well as emotional benefits for school-aged children.

Of course, there are several reasonable objections to sexuality education curriculum being taught in today's schools. First, it is argued that sexuality is an inappropriate topic to be taught in schools, for schools are a place to learn "typical" academic subjects such as Math, Science, or English. In addition, those who are against sex ed assert that sex is a personal matter and should only be taught to children by their parents. In other words, it is the parents' responsibility to provide sexuality education for their own children (Goldman 5). This would be a reasonable point to make. After all, parents are the "first and most readily accessible of all the teachers from whom children learn" (Goldman 6). Further, children "consistently report" that they want to receive information from their parents regarding sex (Goldman 6), suggesting that they would rather learn about sexual activity from their parents than from teachers. Finally, opponents of sexuality education curriculum argue that teaching this topic in schools essentially condones teenage sex, and thus will result in more teens engaging in sexual activity.

However, these opposing positions have their limitations. Researchers point out that sex ed is "after all, an academic subject," so it is appropriate that it is included in schools' curriculum (Hamilton, Sanders, and Anderman 3). Sex ed is not a class taught on its own, but rather a component of school's health classes. The problem is, people mistakenly believe that sex ed only refers to sexual behavior, such as sexual intercourse, and not the "full array of topics that comprise sexuality" ("Implementing," par. 4). These topics include information on:

abstinence, body image, contraception, gender, human growth and development, human reproduction, pregnancy, relationships, safer sex (prevention of sexually transmitted infections), sexual attitudes and values, sexual anatomy and physiology, sexual behavior, sexual health, sexual orientation, and sexual pleasure. ("Implementing," par. 4)

From this information, it can be concluded that sex ed does not just discuss sexual activity as critics claim. Rather, it teaches students about several important life topics regarding sexual health and human relationships.

The argument that parents should be the sole educators on sexuality has its limitations as well. The fact is, not all parents are talking to their children about sex. A nationally representative survey commissioned by the Planned Parenthood Federation of...

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Goldman, Juliette D. G. "Responding To Parental Objections To School Sexuality Education: A Selection Of 12 Objections." _Sex Education_ 8.4 (2008): 415-438. _Education Research Complete_. Web. 2 Nov. 2013
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Kohler, Pamela, et al., "Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy," _Journal of Adolescent Health_ 42.4 (March 2008); 344-351. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.
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