Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Sex Education Controversy

This time of year schools nationwide are making adjustments to curriculum and various school policies. Last week the Sonoma County Peer Outreach Coalition told you about Provincetown school district and the school's proposed policy to allow access to condoms to all students, even those as young as 6 years old. Now the school district is facing harsh criticism from parents and local politicians and is rethinking the entire policy.

So now let's take a look at Helena, Montana. Helena Public Schools has proposed a new health curriculum that outlines comprehensive sex education for grades K through 12. Highlights of the curriculum include:

First grade: Students are taught that people can love people of the same gender

Second grade: Students are taught that it is wrong to make fun of people by saying the words "gay" and "queer"

Third grade: Students are taught that the media often presents an unrealistic image of marriage, love, and what it means to be male and female

Fourth grade: Students are taught about the risks of online chatting

Fifth grade: Students are taught about vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse

6th-8th grades: Students are taught about abortion, STIs, and contraception

9th-12th grades: Students are taught about erotic images in art can reflect society's views on sexuality

Wow! The curriculum as a whole is quite comprehensive. More than anything I love the fact that students are being taught from early on the importance of tolerance and cultural sensitivity. Teachers can be truly instrumental in halting hate-driven language in classrooms. Teaching this to children early on can prevent problems in middle school and high school.

Of course, the entire curriculum is sparking controversy. Some feel that the language for fifth graders is too mature. Others commented that the curriculum conflicts with religious views about premarital sex and marriage, mainly in regards to the open discussion about homosexuality and sexual preference.

If you need some reading material, here is a PDF of the entire curriculum. The sex education curriculum is on page 45.

What do you think? Is this curriculum appropriate or has Helena Public Schools gone too far?

No comments:

Post a Comment