Despite evidence that abstinence-only education actually increases rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections, only 13 states require such education to be medically accurate (“As Colorado Moves to Bar Abstinence-Only Sex Education, Teenagers Take the Lead,” The New York Times, Feb. 21). That’s appalling when the consequences are fully understood.
Unfortunately, too many parents incorrectly assume that teaching the truth about sex will result in their children engaging in intimate practices. California passed the Healthy Youth Act in 2016, which required schools to teach the truth about the subject, even though some parents attacked the act as being pornographic.
It’s amazing that the U.S. persists in its prudishness about sex, particularly because kids mature much earlier than in past generations and are exposed to sexual images on an unprecedented scale. Other countries are far more realistic. For example, Sweden treats sex as important as other subjects. It insists on truthfulness. Too bad the U.S. does not follow Sweden. Our young people would be better served and tragedies could be avoided.
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4 Replies to “Do sex education right”
Agree that govt institutions in the US have a prudish hang-up re all issues involving sex while at the same time Americans have an intense interest in media reporting related to sex. Something wrong down deep in our national psyche.
You would think that the threat of AIDS would have caused every school system in the nation to teach safe-sex. It’s immoral — and political cowardice — for school systems to teach only abstinence, knowing that many of the students sitting in those classes will nevertheless become sexually active and that unsafe sex could result in AIDS.
Labor Lawyer: In today’s litigious society, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a parent suing a school district for not providing their child accurate sex information, particularly if not doing so led to an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.
Of course, the school system is in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t position re pretty much all aspects of sex ed. If the school teaches safe sex, it gets sued by the moralists; if it teaches abstinence only, it gets sued by the rationalists. My guess is that the moralists are more likely to sue than the rationalists, since the rationalists can always teach safe sex to their children themselves but the moralists (correctly) view the school teaching safe sex to their children as a bell that cannot be unrung.
Labor Lawyer: The battle between moralists and rationalist is not new. It’s hard to understand how blind the former are in view of what’s going on around them.