Most of us had to sit through sex education at some point in our lives. I experienced my first sex ed class in 5th grade, although I didn’t learn much from it. For the most part, the class talked about how our bodies would change in the next few years. The class didn’t explain what sex was, and certainly didn’t discuss homosexuality.
A sex education curriculum proposed in Montana would be much more informative, helping children to understand issues involving sex before learning from experimentation. The Helena school district proposal would teach kindergartners about anatomical terms, first-graders about same-sex relations, and fifth-graders about the various ways people can have sex.
More specifically, first-graders would be taught that “human beings can love people of the same gender,” which is undeniable. Second-graders would be taught that “making fun of people by calling them gay is disrespectful and hurtful.” I doubt that even those opposed to homosexuality would deny that making fun of people, regardless of sexual orientation, is hurtful. The curriculum seems pretty simple and obvious to me. So what’s the issue?
Sure, the Montana sex education proposal is radical compared to the sex education I experienced growing up. But is there anything wrong with that? The curriculum contains accurate, scientific information that will help students make good, informed decisions.
But some parents claim that it’s their responsibility to teach their children about these topics, not the school system. But where do we draw the line? Should parents be able to prevent curricula in other subjects because their moralistic views conflict with facts? The curriculum does not include any lessons on morality; it just teaches things that are true.
Schools are responsible for teaching information, not filtering and controlling what information students learn. Sex ed curricula should follow the same guidelines as the curricula for all other subjects. Students should learn information when they’re old enough to process it, not based on decisions by seemingly homophobic parents.
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks