Education Editorial: Sex ed standards

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A new coalition has called for national sex education standards.

They believe that K-12 students should be introduced to the identification of body parts in the elementary school, contraception in the middle school and that 12th graders should understand "emergency" contraception.

While the United States continues to have an epidemic of teenage pregnancies, the health interventions for some groups seem to fall solely on information. The common sense question is, "Do young people get pregnant because they do not know how it happens?" The answer is probably no! The second question is "Where should sex education be taught?" The home continues to be the first and most important classroom.

For those who advocate that the public schools should teach sex education, another question emerges, "Who should teach it?" Should "content" be delivered by classroom teachers or health professionals? And, the debate eventually leads to safe sex versus abstinence. An interesting dichotomy rests with the contradiction that we pose with young people: don't do it… but if you do, this is how you should protect yourself.

While many can reasonably argue that parents are not providing information about sex, we also have another challenge: if the government continues to do things for families that they should do for themselves, we will have taught them to abdicate their responsibility. Whether standardized, rationalized, or generalized, information is not enough; the issue is values. Pregnancy prevention is about decisions, not defining terms!

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