Sex Ed: Enough Already

Friday, May 20, 2005

Maybe it's the baby boomer in me, but if I were a kid today, my reaction to this whole business of charges and countercharges surrounding Montgomery County's new sex education program would be: "Yuck" ["Committee Reassesses Sex-Ed Decisions; Choices Backfired in Montgomery," Metro, May 15].

Over the years -- nine of which I spent as a teacher -- I have watched sex education morph from a one-unit lesson on the reproductive system in a 10th-grade science class to a panoply of sex surveys, birth films, patch-or-pill options and, now, condom demonstrations.

In the beginning, the justification for sex education was that young girls, in particular, were entering into womanhood with no concept about what was going on with their bodies because some parents wouldn't talk about sex. Few people make that argument today. Modern parents are baby boomers and Gen-Xers, for goodness' sake.

So what, exactly, is the point of all this preoccupation with sex in school? How much information is enough already? Psychiatrists say that obsessing is emotionally unhealthy.

I don't know what causes homosexuality, and none of the "sexperts" really know either. So how are young people supposed to establish their sexual identity with all this hoopla going on?

If the aim is tolerance, surely there are better ways of achieving that than pushing kids to explore intimate topics such as masturbation in a classroom setting -- especially when so many students are anxious about their developing bodies.

Maybe it's time to revisit that unit on reproduction and then get on with more pressing -- and untaught -- health issues.



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