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Should sex education be taught at home, school or church?On March 10, 2012,...

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 7:04 AM via web

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Should sex education be taught at home, school or church?

On March 10, 2012, Williamsonma submitted this question and received one answer which can be referred to at the above exact title. I believe this is such an important question that it should be thrown open to a general discussion.

In my opinion, sex education ought to be taught in school, although it should not include advice on contraception but should be restricted to scientific facts about human reproduction, including conception and development of the embryo. Much of this information can be shown on film that is already available.

The parent, of course, is free to offer sex education at home, but many parents may fail to do so, and many may not be competent to do an adequate job.

Sex education may be taught at church, too. But only half the population attends church, and certainly not all churches offer any kind of sex education.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 10, 2012 at 7:52 AM (Answer #2)

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I agree. I think that the fact that in the US we treat sex education as a separate topic is actually part of the problem, however. Everyone should be taught to care for and respect their bodies. Sex is simply a part of that topic, which should also include learning about nutrition, heart health, stress management, substance abuse, and physical activity. If the whole thing were approached from that angle, and were discussed openly (as is done in some countries), the whole embarrassment piece would be eliminated. Sex is a natural and normal part of life, and should be taught as such. Schools should offer facts and information. This should include relevant statistics, since many, if not most, teenagers seem to think that they can beat the odds when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, rape, and unplanned pregnancies. Parents should be teaching personal values, which they certainly ought to be competent to relate, and also as much of the biological information as they feel able to teach. Churches and youth development groups should emphasize moral values as well. This is some of the most important information a person can learn- it would be better to overdo it rather than leaving anything to chance.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 10, 2012 at 7:58 AM (Answer #3)

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I agree. I think that the fact that in the US we treat sex education as a separate topic is actually part of the problem, however. Everyone should be taught to care for and respect their bodies. Sex is simply a part of that topic, which should also include learning about nutrition, heart health, stress management, substance abuse, and physical activity. If the whole thing were approached from that angle, and were discussed openly (as is done in some countries), the whole embarrassment piece would be eliminated. Sex is a natural and normal part of life, and should be taught as such. Schools should offer facts and information. This should include relevant statistics, since many, if not most, teenagers seem to think that they can beat the odds when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, rape, and unplanned pregnancies. Parents should be teaching personal values, which they certainly ought to be competent to relate, and also as much of the biological information as they feel able to teach. Churches and youth development groups should emphasize moral values as well. This is some of the most important information a person can learn- it would be better to overdo it rather than leaving anything to chance.

I don't disagree with anything that you've said, but I think that two things you say here point to the difficulty of knowing what should be taught in schools.  You say that

Sex is a natural and normal part of life, and should be taught as such.

But you also say that personal values and moral values should be taught at home.  I think that there are many people for whom teaching about sex as a natural and normal part of life would be a moral choice of its own -- one that they might object to.  I think that there's still a lot of people who would rather have their kids taught that sex is a forbidden thing that should not be talked about as a normal part of life.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:11 AM (Answer #4)

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I believe also that sexual education should be taught in school. Teaching young people to talk about sex, sexuality, and related issues can help to keep them safe and that, to me, is the most important reason to keep this subject in schools.

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wanderista | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:55 AM (Answer #5)

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Sex education should be taught in school and home. In Australia, we have a subject known as 'Personal Development Health and Physical Education' that is mandatory for all students to undertake until Year 10. All aspects of sex is covered and discussed, including the biological and scientific factors, and the social factors, how to say no and so on.

Students do get embarrassed at school, especially when they have questions regarding sex. So, they take the questions home to their parents. This is healthy for all teenagers to do, in my opinion.

I don't see how sex can or should be taught at church. Consider the fact that only a portion of the population goes to church.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:58 AM (Answer #6)

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I think that for the basic health of society there should be some sex education in schools. Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented with more education. I think that basic health information should be part of the curriculum, and moral issues left to the church and parents.
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mlsiasebs | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:48 AM (Answer #7)

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I think it should be taught in both.  Sex education in schools should focus more on the facts while home education can be about facts as well as expected standards of behaviors in each family.   The reality is that not all students are taught the correct information at home or not taught anything.  Having it come from the school rather than peers increases the chances that students get accurate information.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM (Answer #8)

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The answerer in #7 says exactly what I believe and what I have observed about teaching sex education at home. "The realiity is that not all students are taught the correct information at home or not taught anything." Exactly! A lot are not taught anything. But they get a lot of incorrect and sometimes absurd hearsay information from their friends. In our liberal and enlightened age, this is still the case. (Maybe Dad thinks that Mom is teaching the kids about sex and Mom thinks that Dad is doing it--or at least hoping so, because neither Mom nor Dad wants to bring the subject up or knows when is the proper time.)

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 1:05 PM (Answer #9)

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Posts number 2 (and 3, which points out a major issue) are spot on. The problem with teaching sex education at schools is that schools, as public institutions, are also political institutions, and the curricula that are taught there are often the product of political debates and wrangling. I believe it was Utah that banned the mention of homosexuality by teachers in schools, to cite one example. And several states have passed laws stating that only abstinence may be mentioned as an example of birth control in sex education classes. The point is that we cannot think of schools as offering a necessarily more liberal (not in the political sense) or enlightened position of sex than churches or families.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM (Answer #10)

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I agree that sex education should be part of the school curriculum, although I would not like to see such classes used for propaganda or advocacy. As much as possible, emphasis should be on facts. It is, however, probably worth trying to do something to stem the rising tide of illegitimacy, since this trend can have enormously negative impacts on the children involved, and, therefore, on society.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 11, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Answer #11)

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Public education should include sex education, always, in my opinion, education that presents factual information in a value-neutral way.  Youth need to have some knowledge about how their bodies work.  Youth also need to be aware of all options to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease.  Whether these options are those frowned upon by their parents or religions is something that must be dealt with at home or by the religious institution.  Parents who find a public education curricula offensive or otherwise problematic are free to educate their children privately, for example, those who find the teaching of evolution to be contradictory to their religious beliefs.  If a parent does not think that his or her child should be exposed to the fact of birth control or abortion, though, that parent is not likely to prevent this exposure under any circumstances.

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elekzy | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted March 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM (Answer #12)

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I agree with post 10.

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williamsonma | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:07 AM (Answer #13)

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You guys are wonderful with your opinions and academic support.  Herein lies the question, that is tied in with answer #9 and the Welfare Reform Act that was instituted in the 1990's.  My understanding of this legislation provided federal funds to schools that adopted curriculum which was "Abstinence Only".

My research has indicated that "Abstinence Only" curriculum is faulty on many different levels and has resulted in peer-discussed forms of birth control, such as withdrawal and rythem methods that are linked to higher rates of pregnancy and STDs.  "Abstinence Only" curriculum also does not address the desires that are beginning to form in our youth and how they should channel those feelings.

I would be interested if anyone could direct me toward curriculum and statistics that could be of interest in my outline of a proposed solution for Sexual Education in the United States.  I would be interested in reading anything that shows a curriculum that is working in the US or abroad.

Thanks again for all your answers, and to BillDelaney who moved this to discussion.

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parkiedoodle | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 18, 2012 at 10:17 PM (Answer #14)

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I believe that it should be taught at home, away from the giggles in school. It is also a job that the parents should tell there kids. A student will also not want to ask questions and share comments about the subject if they are around their friends, who will judge them accordingly.

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loraaa | Student | Valedictorian

Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM (Answer #16)

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Yes, I support Mr.billdelaney and Mrs.pacorz .
 Should be taught sex education in schools.
 We must take this matter seriously.

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bernsb | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted April 19, 2012 at 9:00 PM (Answer #18)

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I think at school because it is awkward to talk to your parnets rather thatn teachers about sex.

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siret | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted April 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM (Answer #19)

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It should be taught at school. Then it will eventully be easier to discuss at home.

students feel more comfortable disscussing such an issue at school whre there are other people of the same age and experience present.

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francy17 | Student, Grade 11 | Salutatorian

Posted April 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM (Answer #20)

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As a student I believe that these things should be taught in school, otherwise some children will not get the chance to understand what is happening to their bodies and why they feel the way the do about people and things. It would be nice if every parent could have “the talk” in a non awkward way, but it just doesn’t work that way. I have actually met some home schooled kids that were absolutely clueless, which is not to say anything bad about homeschoolers, but really they should be taught these things by their parents.

And as for church.. I strongly oppose the thought of sex education being taught in a place where church leaders can’t keep their pant on. (sorry to the good church leaders who are out there)

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lammygotswag15 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted April 26, 2012 at 12:15 AM (Answer #21)

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It is so not efficient to have sex Ed at home. Duuhh. Come on what kind of kid wants their parents to tell them to not do their boyfriends? Just school,, like always. That's the best because we talk about it with our best fraaands aftaar. ; ) yeaah but so not church like SO because there's hardly any people here that even go to church. I mean what if they go somewhere else to learn about god but it's not church. This question.... Way out of your leaguesss ;););) jk (: SCHOOL.

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katniss25 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted April 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM (Answer #22)

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 I agree that sex education should be taught at school. I believe that it would be a little awkward for the parents to have "the talk" with their child, but the parents should tell them about it. I learned about this when I was in 5th grade and my mom told me about this. As for the church.... NO!!!! I think its kinda inappropeate to talk about this topic in church (do you know how many kids under 9 go to church?!!)

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM (Answer #23)

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I would like to point out that there is a question posted today, April 29, 2012, under Health asking: "Can a girl become pregnant if a boy kisses her on the lips?" I think this suggests that some students could use a little more information about such human biology. It also suggests that some students are getting the wrong ideas through hearsay.

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drahmad1989 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted April 30, 2012 at 8:24 AM (Answer #24)

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education must taught in school. as we see there is no shame in education. If we feel shame then its not possible to learn something.

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted May 3, 2012 at 12:23 AM (Answer #25)

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Sex education is such a touchy subject, and, in a perfect world, it would be addressed at home, school, and church.  Home would be the best place for a child to learn about sex, its purpose and its ramifications.  Unfortunately, parents can be to scared to approach the subject, and children are not always prone to taking their parents advice.  Church teachings can step in and help with the discussion, but many children do not attend church.  Ultimately, if both home and church fail to instruct children about sex, the school must step in.  Programs  that teach abstinence and even safety from disease do exist in some places, but if they don't, the children will learn at school anyway - from their peers.  This is the least reliable way to learn, so as adults, we must find ways to boost the effectiveness of the other methods.

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msparks1009 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:46 PM (Answer #27)

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Sex is a natural instinct to reproduce, as we are all well aware. My stepmother and I have had this discussion quite a few times, and in my opinion, sex education should be taught within all aspects of social life. It should mainly be taught at home due to the fact that you spend most of your life with your family, and those should be the people that you trust the most. The topics of sex education should include, but not be limited to: STDs, contraception, statistics of how many pregnancies occur each year, or for a more eye-opening fact, each month or day, the chances of getting pregnant, basic sex physiology, sex offense, and what I feel is most important, the mental, emotional, financial, and physical strain that it takes to give birth to and raise a child. It is well known that adolescents will experiement, especially with the media openly showing sex scenes and intimate situations. Children need to be taught the difference between sex and love. They need to be educated, and if the parents do not know enough even though they gave birth to thier child, a well educated teacher would suffice. I think the thing we should focus on a lot is getting teens to be comfortable talking about it. It is a natural desire that everyone desires, so it should not be pushed aside and hushed. Also, the parents should be comfortable talking with thier children. The law does not dictate what can and cannot be said in the home, so that should be the main institution of sex education.

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najm1947 | Elementary School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 3, 2012 at 4:34 PM (Answer #28)

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I think that sex has two aspects - biological (including health) and moral (including hygiene). The biological aspects should be taught in the school and it should cover the health issues as well. The moral and hygiene issues should be left to home and religious bodies like Churches, Mosques and Synagogues etc.

This segregation can circumvent the objections from the parents and would also ensure that the students have proper scientific knowledge about reproduction, sex and related hazards to health.

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bbehaghel | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:27 PM (Answer #29)

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I think that sex education should be taught in school or maybe in church, but at home, it would be quite unconfortable for the parents and even more for the children. It is at school taht children learn most about sex (talking with friends)

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feed-me-pi | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted May 6, 2012 at 4:00 AM (Answer #30)

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I disagree strongly with the idea of churches teaching such things, i see it unreasonable and fairly outdated. It would be most appropriate in the schools. Schools must teach this to the children, but for it to be reinforced, it must also be part of the parents job to teach as well. Furthermore, it is important for the parent to teach the family 'ideals' and their view on sexual realtions etc.

 

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:05 PM (Answer #31)

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The sooner we can separate sex and religion, the better. Young people should, of course, be taught about the biological facts of life in school and at home from a very early age. And we should teach children to be extremely sexually responsible, both physically and emotionally.

But religion is obsessed with sex in a very twisted, negative way and insists on filling young peoples' heads with ridiculous mumbo-jumbo about the so-called immorality of sexual desire. Religions insist that sex is 'dirty' and they associate all kinds of guilt and disgust with sex. Children should NOT be given any sex education from religious institutions. We only need to look at the Catholic Church, that shouts from on high about the evils of contraception; sex before marriage; masturbation; etc, whilst simultaneously covering up the wide-spread child-rape by its own sexually-deprived employees.

Religions are have an extremely warped, unhealthy attitude to sex (and women) and are completely unable to discuss human desires honestly. They should not be strongly dissuaded from talking to young adults about this subject.

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cutemii134 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:29 PM (Answer #32)

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It should be taught at home becasue the children will learn more from there parents than they would the teachers.

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moosekcr | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:51 PM (Answer #33)

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Sex education should be taught in schools. The fact is that even if some people don't believe that some parts of sex should be covered they need to think about kids today. By the time I was in the eighth grade have of my class had already had sex. Being taught about everything seems the better route to me because kids are going to have sex. Telling them facts about everything that can happen when you have sex is fine, but telling them how to have safe sex is even better. I have noticed that it is a lot of teachers posting to this discussion and I understand your points of view because both of my parents are teachers as well but kids today should get everything no matter how embarrased they or the teacher gets talking about it. Like in post 5 if a kid has a question they are to embarrased to ask the teacher they can take it home to their parents. Parents might not like giving the birds and the bees speech but at least they know their child has questions and can address them. As for church they can teach it but I doubt that it will be very affective. I for one have never attended church and I know that a lot of people don't especially kids that have the choice and are not raised in the religion. I am not saying they souldn't teach it but if they do they should also tell everything and help thoughs kids that have already had sex understand it better and be more protected for the next time it happens.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted May 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM (Answer #34)

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I think sex education should be taught in the home and at school. At home because of the delicate nature of the topic and at school to cover the scientific bases of the subject. I think this type of topic should be left out of the church.

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crystaltu001 | TA , Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted August 16, 2014 at 5:30 AM (Answer #36)

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I think that sex education should be taught in school because that is when kids are starting to develop and grow. So i think it is important for them to learn that stuff while they are still growing so they can be careful of what they do when they grow up .

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