There are few things more annoying than listening to parents complain about schools teaching their children about sex, Roland Martin says.
Susan Volinski's insight:
Roland S. Martin, a columnist for CNN newspaper, discusses his opinions about sex education in the United States. He starts his column by angrily calling out parents who always complain about the curriculum, and states that parents “live in denial about their children having sex.” In fact, if children are having sex, they will most likely not tell their parents because of repercussions they would face from their parents. He also criticizes the instructors that refuse to teach about sex, and only focus on abstinence, because studies have shown teaching abstinence does not prevent sexual encounters. It is true that abstinence is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, but forcing children to feel shameful for engaging in sexual relations is not an effective method either. I totally agree with his opinion. If sex education is incorporated into the curriculum, the instruction should be productive and informational, as opposed to wishy-washy garbage.
One thing that shocked me was that students were engaging in oral sex in middle school. If parents are denying that their children would engage in such relations, they are completely blinded by the realities of the present day. The media influences students more effectively than parents do. Also, the media portrays sex as a norm, making it seem okay for anyone at any age to engage because it seems “cool”, and one of the primary focuses of a middle school student is to fit in.
Sex educator Sue Johanson visited the U of C for Sex Week.
Sue Johanson is well aware that she is shocking and entertaining as an 81-year-old sex educator, but listen up -- though her message may be simple, youth have a lot to learn.
Johanson sums it up succinctly: "Know what you are doing. Think ahead, plan ahead, never let sex just happen, and always practice saf-er sex. Not safe sex. There is no such thing as safe sex. The only safe sex is safe all by yourself -- or no sex at all."
The U of C's Wellness Health Awareness Team hosted Johanson on Feb. 1 in the MacEwan Ballroom, a show that was full of laughs, blushing, hushed whispering, dropped jaws and knowing winks exchanged between audience members. At the core of Sue's presentation, however, were notions of gender relations, communication barriers, and societal expectations related to sex. These, according to her, are proliferated by educational and religious institutions as well as the media and pornography.
Sue's mission was clear -- Canadian secondary education is lacking in the sex-education department, and she is filling in the gaps.
While she believes Canada as a whole needs to step up its sex education in high schools, she has two new concerns: the effect of media (such as porn and TV) on youth and the inconsistent (and generally lacking) sex education in rural communities, small towns and northern Canada. When it comes to the latter, Johanson is concerned about women's rights.
"[In the Northwest Territories] the sex education is really bad. You see that is a patriarchal, male-dominated society, and men don't want women to know because that is power and control, and they don't like that."
This is the perspective of an 81-year-old woman who specializes in sex education. She presents at different colleges and universities, and her bluntness on the topic of sex is quite refreshing. The article starts off with a word of advice from her, “Know what you are doing. Think ahead, plan ahead, never let sex just happen, and always practice saf-er sex. Not safe sex. There is no such thing as safe sex. The only safe sex is safe all by yourself -- or no sex at all.” I feel that this advice should be given to students too, because many school districts always emphasize safe sex, but she is right… there is no safe sex unless you are not doing it with a partner. She also covers other issues such as masturbation and how it should be allowed to be performed by anyone because that’s how people learn about sex in a healthy way.
She leaves with a message, "I want people to enjoy sex -- to know what they are doing so that they are not being manipulated, or used, or abused." I connected with this because in today’s society, there are many different approaches to teaching sex to students, but if students don’t know what sex is or what sexual abuse is, how will they learn any of those things. A child might be sexually abused and never know because they don’t know what it is. Not teaching children about sex facts leaves students feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable when they will actually engage in such acts. As teachers, we need to be supportive of our students and make sure that they are being taught adequate information that will help them be prepared.
Two Alabama high school students and an unlikely team of state legislators want to repeal a 1992 law requiring educators to teach that being gay is a crime and “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” While there is no evidence to suggest that the sex education law is currently being enforced, the students still want to see the misleading (and hateful) language removed.
Currently in Alabama, teachers are required to teach students that being gay is illegal! WHAT!? This article has a video clip attachment of two Alabama high school students, Sarah Noone and Adam Pratt, who are advocating against this law. Even though in some districts the law is not fully enforced, the students still want the law removed altogether. The two State representatives of Alabama have clashing opinions – one wanting schools to not teach sex education at all, and the other wants sex education requirements to be decided by the teacher. I agree with the Democratic Alabama State representative because I feel that teachers should have the power to control what kind of teaching they want to do in the classroom, except there should be set guidelines of what is to be covered in the classroom because some teachers may also want to teach students that being gay is illegal.
The two students in the video declare that the current law promotes “school sponsored bullying” because the school districts aren’t accepting of all kinds of people, and they do not feel that the schools are safe and welcoming environments. I definitely agree with this, and as a future teacher, one of the things I need to strive for is maintaining a safe and accepting environment to all students in the classroom. It’s not fair to make a student feel unwelcome because he or she is different. These two students were brave enough to announce to the public that they have had friends that have been disowned by family members for coming out as gay, and have been sent to conversion therapies because of their sexuality. As a child growing up in very liberal states like California and Maryland, I never had any friends that were disowned by their parents for being gay. It is just heartbreaking to hear that parents will go from loving their children to practically hating their children for being the “wrong” sexuality. I can’t imagine working for a school system where I have to teach the students something that I don’t believe in. Where do teachers draw the line?
This article was published in Australia and discusses the reasons young teenagers, ages 12-19, are watching pornography: to use as a “manual for having sex.” Austrailia isn’t concerned about the debate about whether or not sex education should be required in school, they are more concerned with what should be taught in the sex education curriculum. Bottom line is that students will get their sex education by their own means, most of which involve the internet. When I was in school, we didn’t have sex education classes until middle school, and even when we did have the class, I felt that I was learning more about STIs and pregnancy than about how to properly protect yourself. Sex education programs aren’t teaching students about the actual sex itself, and I feel that this is wrong. If teenagers don’t know how to do it, they will look it up on the internet and watch porn, which gives very misguiding information about what actually happens and what people look like. Since pornography is all the teenager has to base off what sex is, he or she is going to get a different experience in a real scenario which can lead to relationship problems.
I feel that schools hide a lot of the important information students are actually interested in when it comes to sex education, and I feel that these questions that students have need to be answered because if they don’t, as we already see, the students will find their own means of figuring out the answer to their questions. There was an interview posted about a 15-year-old boy that was confused after his real sexual encounter, he says “I just don’t understand why my girlfriend doesn’t like it when I call her bitch during sex.” These ideas of what sex actually is confuses the students because they see one thing, when the reality is completely different. If anything, sex education teachers need to discuss pornography with their students to explain to them that what they see is not a true reflection of what sex really is.
Having sex education is important for students to learn early on because then the students are informed about sexual abuse and can report it early on when they know the signs. Interesting perspective on reasoning for implementing sex education into schools
This article takes on a Texas school district’s perspective on how sex education should be conducted. I was appalled to read that this school district shames their students into staying virgins until they are married. What’s worse is that one of the district’s instructional worksheets compares virgins to a clean toothbrush and a clean piece of gum. It directly states that, “People want to marry a virgin, just like they want a virgin toothbrush or a stick of gum” suggesting that once a “toothbrush” is used, it is now dirty and contaminated by someone else who had used it previously. This is a disgusting way of teaching students about sex because students are basically dehumanized to an object, and if you are not a virgin, you are basically no more than a chewed wad of gum. To me, that is a very sad, shallow view of a complex situation. Other worksheets included other comparisons that students could relate to… “students should treat their bodies like “locks, fences, and stop signs.”” Basically this is saying that students should be completely against sex until marriage. But this doesn’t teach students anything except being afraid of doing the wrong thing. Children don’t always listen, and what would happen if a child takes matters into his or her own hands? If he or she has not received any important information about sex education, the student may have a higher chance of encountering a pregnancy issue or STI if the student doesn’t know how to practice safer sex.
I believe the approach that this Texas school district takes towards sex education is wrong, and to say the least, they should be teaching the students facts about sex and the consequences that could come from it. Sex education should not be a morality lesson. Children will make their own choices, regardless of other people’s opinions, it is important to educate them about the facts before the students end up with results that are detrimental to their future.
Chicago has the third largest public school system in the nation. (Getty Images) While most U.S.
Susan Volinski's insight:
This is an article published by ABC News discussing the new implementation of sex education in kindergarten classes in the Chicago area. The students will learn the basics about different body parts on males and females, reproduction, and how to maintain healthy relationships with each other. As students advance in their studies, the content of the sex curriculum will become more mature. Another thing the Chicago schools are adding into the curriculum is the instruction of sexual identity, to bring awareness to different types of sexualities with which people may identify. Personally, I do not believe that students should be educated on reproduction in kindergarten because at this point in their life they are just learning to differentiate between colors and numbers, and I don’t think that the students would even understand the concept of sexuality. When I was a child, I knew there were boys and girls, but that was the extent that I knew about sexuality. Now, however, since sexuality is on a fluid scale, there are more than just two distinct genders, but learning about all of that is too soon for a four-year-old.
I mentioned in a previous insight that it is important for children to learn about sexuality early on because they can identify with signs of sexual abuse and report it. However, students in kindergarten are on average four or five years old, so I believe this is not the right time to be teaching them such mature concepts. Additionally, I don’t think all the parents would be supportive of their children learning about different reproductive parts at their age. So, I think this curriculum is going to have a lot of controversy and criticism from the parents.
This is a YouTube video that describes Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert’s opinion on teaching sex education in classrooms. He believes that children should remain innocent and that they should enjoy their childhood. He says that the school system should not force sex education on the students, and I agree with this to an extent. I feel that students should not have to learn these topics at such a young age. He says though, that students will figure it out on their own when the time is right. He even connects it back to his personal life and states that he never needed a sex lesson to know what he was doing. In my opinion that is not the point of sex education, but rather to inform students on how to practice safer sex and know the consequences of pregnancy and STDs. Living in today’s society, the chances for catching an STI have increased drastically, so it is important for our students to learn about how to protect themselves. It’s not in a child’s best interest to learn about sex in the process of the act itself.
Lessons in pornography should be introduced into sex education because of concerns over easy access to extreme images, say teachers.Related StoriesHead teachers attack rise in 'explicit' TV before watershedGraduates facing freeze in starting salaries...
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