Sex Education: How Should We Be Teaching Our Children?

By: Kristin O’Brien, Jeffrey Rosbash and Kathryn FitzPatrick

For years, the debate about Sex Education has been one motivated by religious and moral beliefs. In today’s society children need to know and understand sex; the risks and the consequences of what can happen to them as result of sex. According to the Heath Guide in the New York Times, “younger adolescents (12-14 years) are more likely to have unplanned sexual intercourse and more likely to be coerced into sex.” This implies a lack of education and a complete ignorance on behalf of educators. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2006, there were 435,427 births to mothers ages 15-19 years. “Hispanic and non-Hispanic black teen pregnancy rates are three times higher than white teen pregnancy.” And there are 1.1 million Americans living with HIV. The problem is most teens do not want to ask the embarrassing questions about sex and adults tend to avoid the topic altogether, even denigrate teens for wanting to know such information, so technology has stepped in to help eliminate all the embarrassing, face blushing, moments they may have during health class, to answer some of these questions.cellphone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a recent New York Times article, “When the Cell phone Teaches Sex Education”, Jan Hoffman reviews a North Carolina program, called the Birds and the Bees text line, that allows teens to text questions they have about sex.  They text whatever questions they may have which can range to any of the following, “Why don’t guys like short girls” to “what happens if I swallow a piece of the condom?” Within 24 hours they receive a non-judgmental response to these questions by a trained profession with graduate degree in social work or public health. This program does not advocate abortions and when in times of serious need refers teens directly to a doctor or emergency line. One professional actually confesses that she “doesn’t want them to feel connected…I want them to find someone real to talk to.” It is not the program’s goal to educate adolescents but to be a resource they can rely on when they feel no one else will listen. One possibly pregnant teen reported she talked to her sex-education teacher about her situation and the teacher made her feel ashamed. Who are children to look to if parents refuse to discuss sex with their teens and educators fear the backlash? It is obviously up to a family when to and how to discuss sexual education but we need to be aware of the growing need to introduce it earlier than we may want to. We must understand that not every child has an understanding support system at home; sexual education in school may be the only education they will ever get.

As educators keeping up with technology and students needs, what should we be doing in order to help our students? According to ABC News President Obama is replacing abstinence-only education with teenage pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation. These programs are effective and based on science. According to a recent study in the journal of Pediatrics, teens who took pledges to remain abstinent are actually no less likely to engage in premarital sex but much less likely to use contraception! Obama believes that we should start sex education in kindergarten and make it age appropriate. It should be medically accurate and also be used to teach children about inappropriate touching which, we think anyone can agree, is an important topic young children should be aware of to avoid abuse.

This Birds and Bees program from North Carolina is just an updated version of what teenagers have been writing to teen magazines about for years. It is an effort to help children get through strange phases in their lives, when other outlets have proven unsuccessful. Sexual Education is an uncomfortable topic for everyone but it should not be. Everyone needs to know the facts eventually, but we need to make sure it does not come too late! This program gives students a way to have their questions answered without anyone judging them and it also gives them many useful resources as well.

Works Cited:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/fashion/03sexed.html?_r=1

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/07/sex-ed-for-kind.html

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/05/president-oba-3.html

http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsTeenPregnancy/

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/

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51 responses to “Sex Education: How Should We Be Teaching Our Children?

  1. Interesting article. I applaud the state of North Carolina for implementing the Birds and Bees text line for sex education answers. By using texting for answers, the state of NC has made it relatable to the students and thus the stigma that sometimes accompanies sexual talk is diminished. The students think of it as texting your friend and receiving a reply(an informed one!).

  2. I know as a parent of a teenager how important this subject is. If I had my way, I would not want to discuss sex with my 13 year old daughter. I am aware, though, that if I do not talk to her in a non-judgemental way, she will be talking and getting information from sources that may not be as helpful and accurate. I am aware that there is more risk than just pregnant. She can get a disease that could change her life in a negative way. I don’t like it, but I have to talk about this. I really wish I didn’t have to

  3. Thanks for being so honest. I think lots of parents don’t want to admit that it’s a topic they don’t want to discuss and therefore they avoid it altogether or make children feel even more awkward than they already do about the topic but as a community we really need to understand how important this topic is in our lives and how it effects our children. I know parents don’t want to think about their children having sex but the statistics show that they are doing it and they’re definitely curious about. We need to suck it up and give them the resources they need!

  4. I think it is important to teach our children about sex. I grew up having to learn all my information from my peers & books because it was not a topic we dicussed at home…..think about it…im sure no one would want their kid coming home one day with an accidental preganancy/disease because they were misinformed about sex…

  5. I really like the idea of having a text line to ask questions regarding sex, especially that this does not judge anyone. Sometimes, teenagers are afraid to ask any type of sex question since they feel like they are being judged. The topic “sex” is not always an easy topic to discuss with people, especially parents or teachers. Implementing sex education at a young age is very important as students are getting pregnant at the age of 12!!! That is crazy, but we all know it is true. Anything that will help any child feel more comfortable talking about sex, and learning what happens when you have sex is crucially important, as one time can change their lives forever.

  6. I strongly advocate for updated and restructured sex education classes. There are too many adolescents and adults who don’t know enough about their bodies and the baggage sex comes with. Although my parents did not formally sit me down and talk with me about sex, I have informed myself by taking numerous classes relating to the development of teens, women, mothers, birth control methods, HIV/AIDS, & STI’s. Majority of my learning did not come from my high school, but from college; which is evidence of how well our public high schools are doing about educating our youth about sex topics. North Carolina’s text program sounds promising! I am sure that many people would love to have the option of asking what-could-be an embarrassing sex question anonymously, knowing that those giving the answers are educationally qualified individuals. We need programs like these in conjunction with better informed (non-abstinence only) sex ed classes available for our young adults.

  7. I too applaud North Carolina for using the Birds and the Bees text line. What a great idea. There is finally a place where teens can go to get all of their questions answered in a non-judgmental way. But what does it say about society when we can’t even talk to our kids about sex when sex itself is an act that everyone will eventually do in their life? What is so embarrassing about talking about something that feels good, that you do with someone you love (hopefully more often than you do with someone you don’t love or like), that you do to make a family? Perhaps we have to look at the adults, the teachers, the parents and examine why they are so embarrassed talking about sex before we point fingers at teens, students, young adults questioning why they do the things they do without thinking? Without knowing the consequences? Maybe it is because they have no one to ask!

  8. When I oppose sex ed. in school, I do so because I believe strongly in certain things. First, it is up to a parent to infuse a child with moral and religious beliefs. Because sex ed. does not take these things into consideration, but only teaches how to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancy it sends the message of approving teenage sex. Unfortunately, the toothpaste is out of the tube, so to speak and something must be done to educate a youth that is becoming familiar with sexuality at an earlier and earlier age. To most people this does not seem to be a problem, and when those who are in favor of a more permissible lifestyle encounter more conservative people, they often resort to name calling and bullying; yes even adults bully to get their agenda pushed through.
    The matter comes down to what a person holds to be true; either they see no problem teaching sex to children, or they do. I for one have a problem teaching sex to children because it further devalues society as a whole. Teachers are authority figures whose words are accepted as true, and when the school system promotes this behavior, it removes the stigma from it and gives it acceptability. This will only lead to the next step of degradation, whatever that may be. To look towards the President for guidance to me is also flawed as we are not only giving up the states’ rights to the Federal government, but to one man alone! Obama said in Philadelphia, Pa., on Apr 3, 2008: “I am going to teach them (his daughters) first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. This is not the person to guide us in sex ed.

    • gioanou, I respect and value your post. There are some parents in this world that do not talk to their children about these topics. When I was in seventh grade a fellow student of mine became pregnant from a ninth grade boy. She hid the pregnancy from her parents, tried drugs to kill the baby, threw herself down the stairs. She did not miscarry and went into labor at the bus stop. While one may argue that this seems like an extreme and isolated case, it is not. By the time I was in ninth grade three other girls in my grade had babies.
      Perhaps, we need to have education classes for our parents. Maybe there should be a system in place that if the parents don’t agree allow their children to learn about sex, then the parents have to go to an education program.

  9. I respect a parents right to educate their own children on such a personal subject but as we saw in class most parents did not educate us when we were young. I feel like parents who instill their values and beliefs in their children will have children who respect those beliefs and may or may not believe in them too. I think the important thing to remember is how high the stats are for young adolescents engaging in sexual activities, whether parents want to except it or not, it is happening. And I believe that educating a student about the facts does not devalue society or mean that those who do educate condone these activities. But the facts are the facts, kids are having sex! How can we sit by and play ignorant when these children have hormones that they don’t understand and feelings they don’t know how to react to. We need to protect them the best way we can and that’s through education not ignorance.

  10. I thought this article was very interesting and opened up a whole knew form of communication with children. i think texting and receiving answers is a great way to open up our students minds. i do feel that parents should be the ones to educate their children but i do think for a child it would be easier for them to open up if they previously have a little knowledge on the background. This may make the students more open to want to talk about this particular subject. i think i would really work out great!

  11. I think the Birds and Bees program is a great idea. It is true that most parents do not want to have the “sex talk” with their children and many teachers do not like teaching it in school because their afraid of what they can and cannot say. Children need someone to talk to about something so important. Unfortunately, children are being faced with such a huge decision at an increasingly younger age. If they can’t talk to their parents or teachers about sex, they need someone who they can rely on for pertinent information and know that they will not be criticized for their questions as well as decisions. If children are asking specific questions they are interested in, maybe this will help them think twice if the answer they receive opens their eyes.

  12. The Birds and the Bees Text program is a great idea. It’s important to constantly try to reach teens, all people through avenue they are comfortable in, in this case, texting. I remember asking my mom things as a girl and getting very evasive answers, her unwillingness to address the issue, plus a sign of her generations uncomfortableness in speaking about sex. It would have been great to have someone else to talk to, someone non judgmental. I also was surprised to read that kids who pledge abstinence are no less likely to engage in sex, and more likely to do so without protection! This speaks to the irony of religious indignation to sex education. Obama is right, this awareness must begin early and naturally, the issue is natural and unavoidable and should be treated not as a taboo but as a stage of development.

  13. I remember having my first sex ed class in fifth grade. It was the year that all the boys and girls started looking, sounding, and acting different. I feel that my elementary saw that something big was taking place and had our parents sign permission slips for us to go to different classes. It was weird and I felt really confused, I had never thought of boys that way before that class, but looking back now, it was important to at least raise the question of what we could do, and who we had questions and didn’t want to talk in public about it. Most students are nervous about talking about sex with each other and that is why there are so many unplanned pregnancies in teenagers.
    I understand why parents would not want to have them go to a class, whether it is religious reasons or they just do not think it is appropriate time for it. Some students are just not ready for it. I find sometimes that those are the students who get caught up in childhood relationships that end up with babies having babies. I am not saying it is all cases. I feel that if sex ed is going on at school and a parent does not want the schools version, then some equally as educational to its ideas has to be going on at home. Then the students aren’t missing valuable education that is much needed when students are going through a very awkward and questionable time in their life.

  14. This is very interesting topic and so relevant to issues today. I think the North Carolina program is a great way to connect to kids. Many kids today do not have the security to talk to their parents about sex and there are those who have parents open and willing to discuss it but the kid is too embarrassed to talk to them about it. The anonymity of the texting can give accurate answers to questions without the fear of judgment. I do feel today that young people are being exposed to sex and sexual content at too young of an age but regardless of my opinion it will continue to happen. The best way to keep kids out of harm or confusion situations is to educate. I am not a parent yet but I do feel that when I have children I will make sure we have that open line of communication and hope that they make wise decisions. If they feel that they can’t come to me then I do hope that there is some sort of program such as the one in North Carolina that can responsibly and accurately answer questions. Adolescence is such a confusing time and a time where kids are questioning who they are and how to deal with things. Maybe by educating them on sex this will elevate some of the pressure and confusion.

  15. I thought this was a very interesting article because it provided new and factual information that I was not aware of. First off, I want to say that sex education is a very important topic for all children to learn about. I personally feel that schools should start age-appropriate sex education around 4th grade and get deeper into the education in middle school and the early part of high school. It is so important for teens to learn proper education when it comes to their own well-being and issues about sex.

    Many teens have a lot of questions about sex and don’t always have a support system to seek out. I believe that the “Birds and Bees” system in North Carolina is such a great idea because it really provides comfort and help for teens with real questions. When talking to some youth in my community, a lot of them said they relied on magazines and the internet when it came to questions about sex and their health.

    Therefore, I believe that sex education should be prominent in public schools because students have to be taught somewhere. If the state mandates it, it usually means it’s an important subject to teach all children.

  16. This is a well written article and it makes so much sense.

    Kudos to our current administration for changing the ridiculous teaching of abstinence that was promoted by our previous administration.

    Why is the topic of sex so unacceptable in the United States, while many in our country find it okay to let our children view movies that contain intense violence?
    It is a fact; the domestic culture of the U.S. will allow our children to view slasher films, (in the name of horror) to view war films, (in the name of saving our country) but will balk at the sight of a woman’s breast or subjects of a sexual nature, deeming them inappropriate.

    When are we going to get our priorities straight and grow up?

  17. Sex education is one of the more sensitive topics that are taught in today’s school. As part of my job as a Teacher’s Assistant, I am required to be in several classrooms throughout the day. One of these classrooms is an 8th grade health class. There is a lot of sensitive material that is discussed in that class. Many students find this material funny and several students can be found snickering and giggling throughout the period. Although they may find some material funny, it is important that they learn it. After reading about the “Cell phone that teaches sex-education,” I thought it was a great idea. Many students may feel embarrassed to ask a teacher or parent a question they have about sex. This anonymous method ensures that students will be educated properly. One aspect of this article I disagreed with was president Obama’s idea for starting sex education in kindergarten and making it age appropriate. I feel this is a problem because student’s brains are not developed enough to understand the material which is being taught to them. This is why in most school districts; sex education begins in 8th grade.

  18. The when, how and who of introducing sex education is a sensitve topic that has become quite controversial. Many teens are unaware of the potential consequences of unsafe sex and many that are aware have the “it’ll never happen to me” attitude. For these reasons, it is extremely important for adults to discuss the topic of sex and be open to answering any questions kids may have. As uncomfortable as it may be for educators and parents, it is much more so for the teens themselves,therefore they most likely will not initiate the conversation or bring up what is on their mind. It is an adult’s responsibility to make sure that kids are informed and educated about the potential risks of having sex at a young age or having unprotected sex.
    Many people have differing views as to when sex education should be introduced to children. In my opinion, I do think middle school age is appropriate and that students younger than that may not be ready for this type of topic, but I do agree with the article that young children should be informed of what is inappropriate touching to prevent abuse. I think this is very important.
    Another important question pertains to who should be responsible for educating these children. Parents may feel awkward or be in denial that there children are even thinking about sex. Classroom teachers may worry that it is inappropriate for them to discuss this with their students and leave the responsibility to the health teacher. I believe it is everyone’s responsibility, parents and educators, to teach these children the importance of abstinence and of safe sex, and if they do choose to have sex, then they must know how to do so safely.
    I like the idea of the Birds and the Bees text line. I feel it allows children to ask their questions freely without feeling ashamed or embarrassed, but at the same time, I agree that this is not enough. They should still have an adult in their lives that they can go to to talk with about sex.

  19. Great article. I think the Birds and Bees text support line is a great idea and is very appropriate for kids who have no where else to turn. We can all agree that adolescense is an akward time in our lives and we receive so many different message son what is right and wrong to ask or discuss. It is nice to know that these kids have somewhere to turn. It is also important that they are aware of the fact that this should not be the only source of reliance. Tennagers need someone to actually talk to and confide in. This is a more difficult task but a valuble part of growing up.
    I was surprosed to read that O’Bama would like to start sexual education in Kindergarten but I after reading the comment on sexual preditors it makes a lot of sense. As long as the material is age appropriate I think it is certainly something that needs to be discussed in a serious manner. Children of that age tend to think most of what we say as comedic, especially when they are uncomfortable. It is important that kids are taught what is inappropriate behavior by adults so they are not exposed to the abuse of an adult who preys on the ignorance of little children. One excellent way to combat that is to make the children less ignorant.

  20. alyssatesoriero

    The birds and the bees text support is such a great idea. It gives children the opportunity to ask questions they might be shy to ask. In my school district they have a mother/daughter night where they teach girls about “the birds and the bees”, however none of the girls are brave enough to ask any questions. It is an awkward situation because you are in front of your peers along with your mothers. I think this is a great way that children can feel safe and comfortable to gain knowledge on a confrontational topic. It is also important to get educated as early as possible to protect children from STD’s and the dangers of getting involved in a sexual relationship.

  21. I think that sex education is an important topic to discuss in education. Although there are many people, including parents and teachers, who feel uncomfortable talking to children about sex. In my opinion, the bottom line is that children are going to find out about sex regardless of whether or not we teach it to them. Therefore, I think it is a better idea to teach them earlier than later about sex, with age appropriate material as the article stated, as opposed to them finding out the information on their own. The information they find out might not be correct, and because they are embarrassed or don’t feel comfortable talking about it, they will not discuss it with parents or teachers.

    I really like the idea of the Birds and the Bees text messaging program in North Carolina. It gives children an opportunity to ask questions regarding sex that they are curious about, if they do not feel comfortable talking about it with their parents or teachers. Children do not need to feel embarrassed because nobody knows that they are asking the questions, and they are getting factual information instead of rumors or wrong information from their peers.

    At the end of the day, there needs to be a collaborated effort between both parents and teachers to educate young students about sex. If they do not learn about safe sex, STD’s, and teen pregnancy to name a few topics, then there will be many issues they will face in their futures. I think President Obama is making the right strides toward a better sex education program for young students, and hopefully we will continue to educate our youth about sex in the future.

  22. Sex Education has always been a controversial issue. I believe that sex ed should be taught in the school. There are too many parents who avoid the subject altogether and just like the article stated this may be the only place where they get information. I respect that some parents think it is their place to teach it and to decide when to teach it but the problem is that some are not. I think the program in NC is a really good idea because it allows kids to ask questions freely and not feel embarrassed because no one knows who they are.
    The article said the president Obama is changing abstinence only programs to teen pregnancy prevention programs which i also think is a good idea. As studies show the teen pregnancy rate is extremely high and better measures need to be taken. However, i am not sure if i agree with starting as early as kindergarden. Even if it is age appropriate it still seems a little young to me.

  23. When discussing sex education, i feel that students want to be able to relate to the person they are talking to. So, if the school provides a 70year old health teacher, and the sex talk comes up, the students will feel like they are in the presence of their grandmother and will completely shut down (this happend to yours truely). As long as the teacher is young, interested and honest to the students, the right opening line could have the students instantly capitivated. Of course, having an alternate source such as this texting senario, is defiantely important as well.

  24. I really like the Birds and the Bees texting idea. It’s an anonymous, low stress way of answering tough questions. The article says that parents are usually held responsible for sex education – but is a teenager really going to ask their parents for such sensitive information? I wouldn’t want to (but I did, and still got no answer).

    About sex education in schools – I totally support it. Too many teenagers go into high school having no clue what to think about sex, myself included. My parents were really strict about things related to sex (I’m still not allowed to stay at my fiance’s house), and I got no answers to anything. I didn’t even know the mechanics until I got to high school, and was already in a relationship. And I think that ignorance like mine can be dangerous – I was just lucky I didn’t wind up hurt. I did constantly feel stupid around other students who seemed to know more than I did.

    I work with a bunch of teenagers (not at a school), and I’ve noticed that people are having sex younger and younger. And I think that sex education could help to curb that. And if not, at least teens will know what they’re getting into.

  25. I believe that in today’s society it is crucial to teach children about sex in school. Hoping that kids these days will remain abstinent is just absurd and not realistic at all. I am not saying that there are not teenagers who will wait for marriage to have sex but the majority of the population nowadays is sexually active in their teenage years and because of this they must be informed about all aspects of sex- including contraception, STD’s, etc. I agree with Obama’s plan to start sex education at a very young age, while keeping it age-appropriate. The more informed young people are about the consequences of unprotected sex, the more likely they will be to use protection.. if this issue is swept under the rug and treated as taboo there will be a continuing problem of teenage pregnancy and a rise in STD’s for years to come.

  26. I disagree when you say that sexual education is an uncomfortable topic for everyone because it is not uncomfortable for everyone. I personally have no sense of uncomfortability when it comes to discussing sex. But this is not always the case with younger children who are just starting to learn about sex. So yes we have to find different ways on educating our youth about it and this program sounds like an effective way to start. I think the annonymity of the program is a great way to let the students know that they are not being judged and that they will be given only the answers and not opinions to the questions they ask.

  27. The birds and the bees programs sounds great. Many students may be curious and be frustrated with the lack of communication of their peers and may need a little guidance. So if the adults are not comfortable speaking about it at least the students have somewhere to turn to. It is important to teach sex education to students because if they are not informed they could end up with a series of problems because they weren’t told about the consequences of their actions. Sex education definitely should be taught at an appropriate age.

  28. Sex education should begin in the home.But for some students that is not an option. Therefore, schools but be responsible for providing students with vital information about sexuality. I think that school programs need to begin with abstinence as the best option for teens and then move one to protective measures. The Birds and the Bees Program sounds like a viable option for young people to have their questions answers. However, some questions still remain in my mind: How can the texting program give age-appropriate information if the age of the texter is not known? Does the Birds and the Bees Program encourage abstinence?

  29. I love this article. As a health educator, I’ve seen the many ways sex education has been implemented as well as discouraged from being taught in certain schools. I think that the Birds and the Bees Program in NC is certainly a step in the right direction. With growing technology and children losing their innocence more quickly as a result, I think it allows children to see that no matter how silly their question may be, it won’t go unanswered. This gives promise to children that are confused and afraid to speak up, regardless of their age. I think that if this program is paired with factual information being dispersed in a classroom, children will become more comfortable speaking about taboo topics. This may be as effective as an “anonymous question box” being set up in the classroom, where the children will write down questions, and then put them in the “box,” the teacher will review them and then answer the question to the whole class. This would be beneficial because the whole class would be given the answer, and quite often a question one student has, another has as well.

    The rapport between teacher and student is key as well. If the students don’t feel like they’re being judged the second they enter the classroom, they are more likely to ask questions.

    There are a lot of different attributes that are necessary for being a successful sex educator, but the use of technology in discussing this topic certainly shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet. I’m interested to see how Obama’s proposal affects NY.

  30. I really like the Birds and the Bees textline because these days boys and girls are engaging in sex at a much earlier age. By having this textline they can use it to ask questions that they are not judged on and can get the answers back right away. Also another important point is that the children be comfortable with the teacher who is teaching health in the classroom, so that the children can get the most out of what they really need to know!

  31. Great article! The reality is that young teens are becoming more sexually active than some of us might want to believe. They need to be informed. It is truly alarming that parents today still refuse to have the “talks” with their children because it might be “uncomfortable” for them. Oh, – I get it … So they would rather risk the possibility of dealing with an unwanted teen pregnancy or a child that contracts an STD because that is so much less uncomfortable ? ARG! I agree with President Obama in that sex education should start in the younger grades with age appropriate material and continue throughout high school. However, the onus must not fall solely on the education system – parents need to talk a more active role in this area.

  32. Sex education is a very important topic because adolescence need to know about it. the schools that do not have it are putting their students at risk of geting STI’s. Schools need to teach the students about it and address questions they might have. Certain parents might not talk about it with their children. The teachers should be guidance for the student’s.

  33. I think was a great topic to cover. As time has gone on, kids are being exposed to sex sexual content more and more than they have in the past. The media plays a huge role in sending these sexual messages to our youth. It is our job as teachers to educate our students on the dangers of sex and how to distinguish the good stuff from the nonsense when they turn on the TV or log onto the internet.

  34. I think there is a big issue missing from this article, and that is planned or encouraged teen pregnancy. From an anthropological perspective, some American sub-cultures encourage teenage girls to have children because that sub-culture’s relies on grandparents to raise children.
    The question here is not what we can do to stop this practice, but whether or not we have the right to interfere in it.

  35. I think the anthropoligical perspective you are referring to suggests a rather different question and that is “If this is the case, what information can we give our students to encourage them to do this in a safe way?” Sexuality education has to be universal. As teachers we don’t (or shouldn’t at least) say “it’s my way or the highway”. The important thing to consider is, if these sub-cultures are forced into this lifestyle by their families, how can we guide them to be safe in carrying out these traditions? It’s not our job to interfere, but when students are put into a public school setting, they are going to be taught the information regardless. Let’s hope they’d walk away with the information we teach them in a positive way, or one they can at least find helpful in carrying out their traditions.

  36. I think it is important to have open and honest discussions with teens about sex. As previously stated, if the teens are not given the proper information they will get information from peers or magazines which can be confusing. I like the idea of “When the cellphone teaches sex” because it gives students the opportunity to ask questions they may have without a fear of being judged. With the rise in teen pregnancy it would be a great idea for students to get the proper information and be able to speak open and honestly about sex.

  37. I think that the text line The Birds and the Bees created at UNC is a great idea. Texting has become extremely poplar amongst teens and I feel that this is a good way to reach students who have questions and want answers but are too shy or embarrassed to ask an adult face to face.
    Growing up in the 90′s in Ireland, we had no sex education whatsoever. I believe we were left at a disadvantage as result of this and it was irresponsible of both my school and state to ignorance the role sex ed plays on a teenagers development and maturity.

  38. I believe that teaching children about sex education at an early age is the most beneficial. The article referenced texting being a form of sex education by students asking any question they want and receiving a non judgemental reply back. Sex education should be taught continously by teachers, Social workers, Parents etc to ensure students stay safe during sexual incounters. Most students by middle school have already had sexual incounters which means we must continually educate our youth at younger ages.

  39. I believe that this is a very “touchy” subject area for many educators, and moreover parents. Yet this is a subject area which must be discussed and debated amongst by both groups of adults. I feel that there should be more services like the Birds and the Bees programs available nationwide. Ultimeately this must be left to parents to educate their children about.

  40. The Birds and the Bees program in North Carolina is a great idea. Combining texting with informative health information is a fantastic combination.It is so sad to me how many parents are uncomfortable or unwilling to talk to their children about sexual issues. I think that discussions about sex are an important part of parenting. Start at a young age with your child with age appropriate language and topics such as inappropriate touching and be willing to answering any questions about birth in basic health terms. Be informed with your knowledge and answers so when your children get older, this subject will not be so uncomfortable to talk about and they will be open and honest with you. Be a confidant and a comfort zone to your children.

  41. Sex education is a very usefull portion of the general education curricullum. Students often times are unable to have the outlets, to learn about things such as this at home. Furthermore, for parents who feel uncomfortable going into great detail on sexual topics, this gives the parents an opportunity to ease into a conversation. Sexual education is necessary to teach our students, so they have the knowledge in the back of their minds to make appropriate decisions regarding their bodies. I for one, am a proponant of educating our students at a young age in these matters.

  42. Young people get information about sex and sexuality from a wide range of sources including each other, through the media including advertising, television and magazines, as well as leaflets, books and websites which are intended to be sources of information about sex and sexuality. Some of this will be accurate and some inaccurate. But I think this article is very interesting and sex education is neccessary for our students to know and understand all aspects of it because at least learning it school they have a better understanding about sex. And also, possibly they dont have anyone that they can talk to at home about sex and this open opportunities to those that dont or even do have but are embarrassed to talk to their parents or sibling about sex so educating them about sex in school and the right at least helps them understand the cause and effect and real information. Great topic!

  43. The Birds and the Bees text line seems like an excellent way of bringing the old writing-to-magazines approach of having sexuality questions answered. But as this article mentioned, it is not a replacement for the face-to-face information and advice that is crucial to the healthy development of our children. Additionally, replacing abstinence-only education with teenage pregnancy prevention programs, I feel, is the best approach in our schools. Sticking to beliefs that abstinence- only education is the way to go is preposterous, and even unethical. How could anyone really believe that this is realistic? Aren’t educators supposed to uphold what is best for our children, by preparing them through educational awareness of the best approaches in safeguarding their health? Abstinence-only education serves only to harm our students though teaching ignorance, and is, therefore, an awful (unethical) approach.

  44. I must say that although a part of me is thinking…”teaching students sex ed in Kindergarten is crazy!!!!!”, the other part is saying, “it’s actually not a bad idea!”. Unfortunately children as young as kindergartners can find themselves in horrible situations and not even know that they are in one! So what would harm them more, teaching them or not??? I think not teaching them. A person who is aware will be able to act appropriately if encountered with such a situation.
    I really do agree that we as adults must find the courage to educate children and adolescents of all ages about sex and how they can keep themselves safe!

  45. I agree with this article 100% Sex education must be taught to our students. Aside from religious reasons, human nature is something that can be extremely overwhelming for a young adolescent. From my earliest memories of when I was introduced to sex from my peers is as early as 7 or 8 years old. I feel like a lot of parents dont want to believe it to be true. That the precious innocent little girl is engaging in sexual activity at the young age of 13 or 14. This is the 21st century and alot has changed. So instead of teaching our students things that are unrealistic like abstince untill marriage lets teach them ways to take care of their bodies. Plus most adults are not getting married these days till at least mid to late twentys. A new age calls for new curriculum and I support teaching even the youngest grades.

  46. jamiekalicharan

    I have a young child, and I believe that I should be the one to talk to her about sex. I find that alot of kids today talk about sex , but they don’t really know what it is. Kids today find themselves doing things that they don’t believe is sex and end up getting a STD and wondering why ? Sex education is very important and kids should learn about it from parents anf not there friends.

  47. While it is difficult to agree with anyone in politics these days, I have however recently found myself taking sides with Obama on his Kindergarten Sex Education Plan. I also feel that it should be up to the parents to at least initiate said discussion. We all do know better and often are faced with the reassurance that the knowledge our students have on this subject matter is primarily media-based.
    Trends are indicating that parents are prepping their children more in many school subjects, but when it comes to sex education, I was unable to find any growth in preparation. It makes logical sense to teach children at a young age as to what is good touch and bad touch, however many parents will want to claim responsibility for that. For as many children that are well-prepped for school, there are as many that are under-prepped. These parents expect the schools to do everything short of raising the child for them.
    How do we decipher which students need this education more than others besides offering permission slips and qualified sex education instructors.
    Many of us are haunted by our sex education experiences. Could these harsh memories be a catalyst for change? Designing an age-appropriate sex education curriculum is mandatory. We are a new breed of teachers that are highly aware of media and popular culture. We need discourse in academia regarding the sociological implications of the standard of beauty as well as how to adapt a layered lesson plan that will help our students make educated decisions in the field of sex education.
    We as teachers cannot be another mutable source of antiquated knowledge. We need to attack the subject as if there was a standardized test depending on it. We all know how well a subject can be properly taught if teachers are held accountable. This accountability should only reach as far as exam results and knowledge attained. We are often praised and blamed for all things children, but what happens once they leave the classroom should fall in the laps of the parents.
    What would you demand of your children’s teachers in regards to sex education? Would you be open to a mock lesson open to parents on parent/teacher night prior to the actual lesson? Your feedback should ameliorate your concerns.

  48. I believe that sex education should be taught in every school in every sex ed class! This is such an important topic for the students of today. Their is such a high rate of STD and HIV that students should be educated on how to protect themselves as well as others. I do not feel that the teacher has to go very in depth on sex topics but it should be discussed in a very professional manner. Sex education can be used to reduce negative sexual outcomes in adolences for example rape and abuse. This will help to develope knowledge against sterotypes. I just feel that this is a VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC!!!

  49. This is one of the hardest topics to discuss to our children or students. With this said it is a topic that we must discuss. How do we do this? Teachers should explain all the different types of STD and the risks of having unprotected sex. Schools should have programs installed for students to learn about this important material. Pregnancy should also be discussed in schools. Parents have to have similar conversations with their children all the time. Students should feel comfortable talking to their teachers as well as parents.

  50. I absolutely never agreed with abstinence-only education in schools. It is completely impractical to teach abstinence when we know that these kids are experimenting and wondering about things that we should be answering for them. Studies have shown that kids are having sex younger and younger as time goes on. We need to be teaching them about contraception and preventative measures. They need to know about STD’s that they can catch. I do not agree that we should start teaching this in kindergarten but I do believe it should start in elementary school in age appropriate lessons. We should try educating them and perhaps the age of children having sex will get higher, who knows. But, about the program that kids can text questions to, I think this is an outstanding idea. Every kid should know about this. Parents are afraid to talk to their kids about sex, or in denial that they need to, and children are not going to ask embarrassing questions in school discussions. Especially in this age of technology it is great for kids to be able to text their questions and get an informed response.

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