Dear Future Teachers,
First, I would like to say thank you for your patience during my extended absence from the blog! To be fully transparent, my school work piled up, and I needed to step back from writing in order to prioritize my assignments throughout midterm season. That being said, Dear Future Teachers is back and excited to return to posting content more regularly!
This week's we are introducing a new series on... Comprehensive Sexuality Education! I understand that Comprehensive Sex Ed can be a controversial topic in some areas. My intent is not to shame or force all families to participate in sex education programs. I believe every family has a choice in whether their children participate in a school sex education program. However, I am advocating for all schools to offer comprehensive and evidence-based sex ed for students who do participate in the program. Schools are a hub for information, and sex education should consist of high-quality, thorough info so students can make safe, healthy decisions.
Sex Ed can vary from state to state. Some schools utilize Comprehensive Sex Ed courses, some use abstinence-only education, and others are not required to offer a Sex Ed lesson at all! Read more about individual state sex education policies here. When the information differs so drastically from school to school, we may be doing a disservice to students who will have to face sex, sexuality, and sexual health in their adult lives, if not sooner. In my personal experience, I never really received a sex ed lesson in school. I had missed school the couple of days dedicated to Sex Ed, and there was no obligation or attempt for me to make-up the lesson afterwards. Almost everything I learned about Sex Ed had to come from a parent or other outside sources much later in my life.
This series will define Comprehensive Sexuality Education, discuss and dispel myths about sex education, provide sex ed resources for adolescents, and more!
To begin this series, I would like to provide a definition of Comprehensive Sex Ed and what it includes. Contrary to what some would believe, sex ed encompasses so much more than just sexual behavior. For example, it teaches about sexuality, consent, sexual health, puberty, etc.
Comprehensive Sex Education, as defined by Sex, Etc., is: "A form of education that encourages a positive view of sexuality as a natural part of human development. It provides information about sexual abstinence as well as pregnancy and disease prevention, and provides teens with skills to ensure they are able to take care of their sexual health by making healthy, responsible decisions."
Comprehensive Sex Ed discusses topics such as:
Communication (with families, friends, partners, health professionals)
Recognizing and preventing sexual violence
Understanding and practicing consent
Sexuality throughout life
Contraception (condoms, birth control, etc.)
Preventing unintended pregnancy
Preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Understanding the various kinds of medical professionals, such as gynecologists
Society and Culture
Sexuality in the media
(information compiled from Planned Parenthood and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
I want to reiterate that Comprehensive Sex Ed does NOT sexualize children nor promote sexual behavior. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says:
"Comprehensive sexuality education should be medically accurate, evidence-based, and age-appropriate, and should include the benefits of delaying sexual intercourse, while also providing information about normal reproductive development, contraception (including long-acting reversible contraception methods) to prevent unintended pregnancies, as well as barrier protection to prevent STIs."
Young people deserve to have medically accurate, age-appropriate, and culturally affirming information provided through a sex-ed course so that they can make informed and safe decisions for themselves. In the coming weeks, Dear Future Teachers will explore Sex Ed resources, myths and facts about Comprehensive Sex Ed, and how to appropriately implement Sex Ed at all age levels. We are looking forward to exploring this topic further and would appreciate any productive questions to be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.