Grade School Sex Ed. 1 The Elementary School Sexual Education Debate Sara Vanbuskirk English Comp. 1 Professor Evans November 29, 2011 Grade School Sex Ed. 2 Abstract Controversy is rampant regarding the sexual education of grade school children. Some insist that it is prudent to educate children on this subject beginning as early as kindergarten. Others strongly disagree that earlier education has any effect at all on teen sex and pregnancy and, therefore, abstinence should be the focus.
Lastly, we have those who believe advocating abstinence is appropriate, but agree that a more in depth sexual education is also necessary for those who are going to have sex anyway despite our best efforts to teach them otherwise. Grade School Sex Ed. 3 The Elementary School Sexual Education Debate It is unanimously agree upon that it’s important to educate students on a wide range of topics, especially during their most formative years. As part of their education, they are taught to understand their role in history. They are taught science to foster an understanding of the smallest particles of our world.
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While debates of what should be taught scholastically do exist, there is no debate more heated than the one concerning students’ sexual education curriculum. Opinions vary considerably on several points. When do we start teaching students about sex and the body? From what perspective do we frame the discussion? Since the curriculum of sexual education is not under any Federal mandate, the choice of what to teach and when to teach it is decided on a state by state, and even county to county, basis. Therefore, is it safe to say that all students are given a comprehensive account of sexual ducation? New Jersey, for example, aims “to bring sexual enlightenment to schoolchildren. In 1980 the state adopted one of the nation’s first mandates for comprehensive sex education–or family-life education, as it is called there–and it was the very first state to require sex education for children in the primary grades” (Whitehead, 1994, p. 2). ” In doing so, New Jersey embraces sexual education in order to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in its teenage population. By exposing students to more comprehensive information Grade School Sex Ed. from an early age, and continuing the education throughout their teen years, students are aware of their choices and more importantly, aware of how to protect themselves. There are many states that do not provide the kind of sex education that New Jersey strives to convey to its students. It more often than not ties in with the religious right proclaiming that students are too young to be exposed to sexual material, and thus sexualized as a result. These fundamental groups oppose any suggestion towards a comprehensive approach.
Instead, they ask that their children be taught after grade school and additionally, they steer towards ‘abstinence-only’ education. Instead of teaching students how to protect themselves, they teach that the only way to protect oneself is by abstaining from sex. The problem arises, then, when these students decide to have sex. They are unaware of how to conduct themselves responsibly, how to take precautions to prevent against unwanted pregnancy and disease. What kind of ‘education’ are students receiving when they are withheld crucial information?
In essence, we have those who believe we are doing children an injustice by withholding crucial information. Yet others believe it is their right to choose when and where we educate our own children. Some states are even going to the extent of taking action and amending their existing policies. For example, as of August 2011, “students in New York City’s public middle and high schools will be required to take sex-education classes beginning this school year, using a curriculum that includes lessons on how to use a condom and the appropriate age for sexual activity. (Santos, 2011, p. 1). One would hope that eventually we could come to a compromise; one that would allow for children to be educated on this subject within the school system without completely disregarding parents’ right to decide for themselves when their children should be introduced to this sensitive subject. References Santos, F. (2011). New York will mandate sex education. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2011/08/10/ etrieved 26 November 2011 from mandate sex educatition. html. Whitehead, B. (1994).
The failure of sex education. The Atlantic Online. Retrieved from http://www. theatlantic. com/past/politics/family/failure. html. Houghton, Ph. D. , P. M. , Houghton, Ph. D. , T. J. (2009). APA : The Easy Way (2nd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Aaron, Jane E. (2010). The Little, Brown Compact Handbook With Exercises (7th ed). New York, NY: Longman. Lester, J. D. , Lester, J. D. , Reinking, J. A. , & Von Der Osten, R. (2010/2011). Strategies For Writing Successful Research Papers (Custom ed. ). New York, NY: Pearson Learning Solutions.