Pros And Cons Of Sex Education In School

Should health and physical education teachers teach children about sex? Here's a look at the pros and cons.

Public school systems have been implementing sexual education into their classrooms as a regular part of instruction for decades. Controversies are abundant when dealing with such delicate issues and there are many pros and cons to sexual education being taught in the public schools. It seems that most parents are either strongly against or strongly in favor of sexual education classes, but very few parents are in the middle ground. And, in fact, there are more parents that are in favor of sexual education classes.

Results of recent polls have estimated that less than 7% of the population does not believe that sexual education should be a requirement in schools. This is 93% who are in favor of this subject matter as a part of the regular curriculum. However, there are pros and cons that must be considered by parents when dealing with sexual education classes that one would not have to consider with a less controversial topic such as math or reading. In general, a parent needs to be aware of his or her own family or religious beliefs and values and know their child's intellect and maturity levels.

With so much of the population on the affirmative side there must be some pros to this curriculum. Such advantages might be:

* Classes are gender exclusive. This saves embarrassment amongst students and teaches them only what is necessary to know based on their gender.

* Taught properly, sexual education could become a regular course such as Human Anatomy or Biological Science complete with tests and grading that goes towards their graduating credits.

* Student's can be taught the correct terms of the reproductive system, sexually transmitted diseases and birth contraceptives rather than the "street lingo."

* Myths surrounding intercourse can be dispelled (such as not being able to get pregnant the first time).

* Studies show that many teenagers become sexually active before the inclusion of the educational classes. Early inclusion of classes has proven to help students remain either abstinent or to at least be responsible if they are active.

* Appropriate sexual education can have an impact on preventing sexual problems in adulthood.

However, there are disadvantages that can cause the validity and effectiveness of the material to be in question, and if it cannot be delivered effectively it should not be delivered at all. Some disadvantages might be:

* Students may still suffer from embarrassment or get excitable by the topic matter. This can cause for out-of-control classrooms if students take to giggling or making inappropriate remarks.

* Most sexual education classes are taught as a brief interlude during a physical education or a health class. This is not a long enough time to effectively relate such serious material.

* Often, sexual education can go against an individual's moral or religious beliefs. Many schools do not teach "abstinence only" but teach how to have intercourse safely, whereas many religious and family values stress marriage before intercourse.

* Sexual education is often viewed as a "recreational" course and not a serious subject (this is a direct correlation to the fact that there are no grades or scores to be derived from class).

* Teachers are not always trained how to properly teach sexual education courses and may transgress their own beliefs or morals into the subject matter rather than stick with the facts.

* The attitudes of parents, educators or religious leaders in the community can cause the subject matter to vary from state-to-state, or even school-to-school.

When registering a child for school or checking into various school districts a parent should consider what form of subject matter is going to be included as part of their regular curriculum. A parent or child might also have the right to refuse the sexual education classes if preferred. A school will not change their curriculum based on one parent's ideologies so if there are serious aversions to allowing a child to be in a sexual education course, then other educational programs such as private schools, religious schools or even home-schooling might want to be considered.

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