Should sex education classes be taught in elementary school?
Absolutely. Sometimes, people think that "sex ed" refers only to talking or teaching about sexual behavior, but that's not true. Sex education is an important way children and teens can learn positive, healthy interpersonal relationship and communication skills. Comprehensive sex ed includes skill-building around communication in relationships, values exploration, and a wide array of topics that can or will affect sexuality and sexual health.
So in elementary school, this might mean lessons about how we show someone that we're friends or conversations about asking before giving someone a hug -- skills that have to do with healthy relationships and communication about boundaries in ways that are relevant to younger kids. These types of conversations about consent need to continue in age-appropriate ways throughout middle and high school. Sex ed is about giving young people accurate information and the resources and skills they need to make responsible decisions and stay healthy -- there's no age limit on that.
What would the ideal sex education system look like?
There is a crazy idea that if we don't provide sex education to young people, they will never have sex. It's just not true. And in fact, research shows just the opposite.
High-quality sex education and access to services have been critical to helping more teens than ever stay safe and healthy in this country. Research shows that well-designed and well-implemented sex education programs -- the type of education provided by Planned Parenthood -- can decrease sexual risk behaviors among teens, including delaying sexual intercourse, increasing condom and birth control use, and reducing the number of sexual partners and frequency of sex.
At Planned Parenthood, we recognize the importance role parents play in their children's decision-making around relationships and sex. It's important for parents to talk with their kids and teens about healthy relationships with friends and intimate partners, body boundaries, and healthy communication. Children and teens need to hear about their parents' values and experiences, and we want to help parents address these issues with their children.
Ideally, sex education would be taught each year in schools from kindergarten through 12th grade -- it would be medically accurate, nonjudgmental, LGBTQ-inclusive, and -- like all school subjects -- would teach information and skills that are age-appropriate, reflect best educational practices, and build on students' learning each year.
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Source: Healthy Living Huffington Post