What Is Sex Education Today? Essay

840 words - 4 pages

What is sex education today? Current educational policies mandate a comprehensive education while simultaneously avoiding the issue of explicitly approving or dissenting sexual behavior. On the contrary, most courses attempt to inform sexually active individuals about safe sex rather than encourage any particular practice. Why would educational statutes be wary of encouraging sexual practices of abstinence or otherwise? According to David Rigsby, author of Sex Education in Schools (2006), "Variations of state regulations and limitations [to sex education] exist to respect to what must be, may be and cannot be taught in public schools." The public school system is, in effect, trying to respect the law. Most institutions are wary of violating the Bill of Rights, specifically the establishment clause, within the first, and the tenth amendment. Simply put, if any course approved abstinence as the primary or acceptable contraceptive, that course would, in effect, respect an established religion which is unconstitutional. Rigsby continues, "...many states expressly regulate the teachings of topics such sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), proper contraceptive use, and HIV & AIDS education." These regulated topics, taught in conjunction with abstinence, form a comprehensive knowledge of options deemed necessary to make informed decisions about intercourse.
This effectively forces an emphasis on information about, rather than the encouragement of, safe and effective use of contraceptives. The average course operates under the assumption that a majority of the enrolled students are either already sexually active or are capable of making their own, informed, decisions. However, knowing about other options outside of condoms does not guarantee that an individual will choose to use that information, albeit they are more likely to. As America tries to separate itself from "Victorian era" ideals, such as the existence of God, or the use of God/ the supernatural to explain the unknown, it begins to lean toward science and reason to explain what was previously unknown. This gradual lean is apparent in Norman Constantine's published article regarding perspectives on sexual and reproductive health. In the article Constantine surveys California parents and their preferences on the sexual education provided for their child. Overall, 89% of parents report a preference for comprehensive sex education, while only 11% called for abstinence-only education. The most common reasons reported was due to a focus on consequences, the importance of "being fully informed", the inevitability of adolescent curiosity, and religion. (Constantine, et al).
Despite the increase in quality and total education, children...

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