Real sex news: New national recommendations suggest schools reexamine how they teach sex education.
Once again sex education is in the news. The Journal of School Health says that kids should be able to name the body parts of girls and boys by the second grade and should understand the definition of sexual orientation by the fifth grade.
Mark Peterson with the Utah State Office of Education says that Utah’s sexual education is abstinence-based and students will see between 4 and 6 hours of human sexuality education between grades 7 and 12.
“Abstinence-based is that is abstinence is encouraged but it is not the only path. Abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are what’s stressed,” said Peterson.
There are four school districts in Utah that stress sex after marriage only. Teachers are allowed to talk about STD prevention, but contraception can only be addressed, not encouraged.
New national recommendations doesn’t mean Utah’s sex education program has to change because sex ed is governed by state statute.
In Utah, teaching students about sexual orientation is illegal.
Many parents agree with Utah’s abstinence-only policy and the illegality of sexual orientation education.
“At that age, I think they’re too young to understand one way or another,” said Judy Young. “I mean they’re experiencing so many different emotions at that age, they’re way too young to be making those decisions.”
Others say that it should be taught in some form.
“I believe that in a school setting, it should be taught generically,” said Matthew Murray. “It doesn’t encourage them, it doesn’t discourage them and it doesn’t teach any morality or religious-type aspects.”
Utah is one of only three states in the country that allow parents to opt-in their kids for sex education. The Utah State Office of Education says the last time any significant changes were made to the state statute was in 2004. Any future changes are anyone’s guess.
Maybe one day people will realize that abstinence education doesn’t work and that most people who try and smother gay rights are usually Republican closet cases. My prayers go out to all of the pregnant and STI effected teenagers of Utah.