Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sexual Education: School Responsibility

This week's post is coming several days late not because of dereliction of duty (I may have been a bit behind on writing), but primarily because I have spent the past few days without a solid internet connection on my laptop. I finally was able to use my cracked iPhone screen to locate a successful solution via Google, so hopefully this will not be a problem in future. (The problem, it seems, was some nonsense about needing to flush the DNS, whatever that means.) Anyway, thank you all for your enduring patience, and I hope within the next few weeks to have some news to share with you all, which should further explain my tardiness in writing this week.

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Today I'm beginning a three-week series on sexual education. I'll be dealing with three answers to the following question:
Who has the responsibility of teaching sexual education to children and adolescents?
This week, my answer is school. Why do schools have a responsibility to teach sexual education? I believe the responsibility comes from two primary factors: law and a need for basic knowledge.


Many states have legal policies mandating sexual education in schools. In such states where sexual education is mandated for schools, it seems redundant to say that schools have the responsibility to teach sexual education. (There are, as is noted in the above link, many states in which parents can opt out of sexual education for their child. I'll be addressing this more in week 3 of this series, but in such a case, the school would no longer have a responsibility to provide sexual education for that child.) The next factor into why schools have this responsibility, however, is the primary factor, and, I believe, the source for the legal policies previously mentioned.

Basic Knowledge

In order for our society to function well, all of our citizens need a basic level of knowledge. This reasoning is why we in America have mandatory education, We expect that our fellow citizens are able to read, write, and perform basic math. We also--whether we know it or not--tend to expect that our fellow citizens have a basic level of knowledge regarding sexual activity. When we see a young girl who is pregnant or hear that a young guy has gonorrhea, we often judge that young person for not using adequate protection, forgetting that in many cases, these people may simply have been poorly educated on issues of sexuality. Because some children and adolescents do not have access in the home to adequate sexual education, schools ought to be teaching sexual education in order to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

I believe that little else on this topic needs to be said, and because this post is almost 3 days later than usual, I'm not going into as much detail as I usually would. If you have any questions or concerns, however, I would be happy to discuss them. You can contact me on my Facebook page, Families of Faith (link in the side bar), or comment on this post.

Spoiler alert for next week's post: Churches have a responsibility to teach sexual education!

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