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Sex Education Ethics

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Sex Education Ethics

While some people see controversy in regards to sex education in the schools, it should be taught in the beginning of fifth grade versus high school. There is polemic in regards to the issue of early sex education because some parents argue it is unethical while others contend that early education is needed as part of the curriculum as a preventative measure. As we explore the options and evaluate the benefits versus disadvantages of providing children this type of education at an earlier age, we take into consideration statistical data such as, the number of teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers, and frequency of teen sexual activity. We must contemplate the implications of adding sex education to the school curriculum beginning as early as the fifth grade. Perhaps it could be argued that children at that early age are too impressionable to be instructed on the topic of sexuality and that parents alone should have the option of determining what, when, where, and how to introduce this topic to their children. However, a complication to leaving sole responsibility of sexual education to parents is that some will actually shy away from the subject not knowing how to approach it. The issue is reaching a consensus on whether sex education should be provided as early as elementary school versus the notion that it should start later in high school. While home might be a more conducive environment to discuss sexual education, school classes provide a more efficient way to track and ensure the information is being delivered accordingly. We need find the right balance between what needs to be a private matter between parent and child versus the education systems' obligation to educate and provide the necessary knowledge and tools to students to prevent them from having to deal with worst issues later in life.

Sex education classes in grade school as part of the required curriculum would provide the teachers and students more time to cover all the necessary material. Currently, the topic is included as a small portion of health or physical education classes, so that much of the material that should be covered is excluded because of time restrictions. Also, the classes could be offered in a segregated format based on gender, removing the stigma of discussing the human anatomy in a co-ed setting thereby deterring classroom disruptions. Many young people today "learn" about sex from their peers, the Internet, and television. Sex is a complicated subject that should be imparted through sex education, so that young people can receive a complete concept on the aspects of sex. According to Tamara Kreinin, president of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, and a leading advocate of comprehensive sex education, children should learn about sex from an educated, responsible adult versus the media, a friend, or unreliable sources (Masland, 2012) . Statistics in 2001 show that: thirteen percent of teens have sex before the age of 18, 15 to 24 year olds account for nearly on half of the 19 million new STDs annually, and thirty-four percent of girls become pregnant before the age of 20 with approximately 750, 000 or eighty-two percent of teen pregnancies that occur each year being unintended. Only fifty-nine percent of those pregnancies end in birth while more than one-quarter end in abortion. In fact, of all high school students surveyed in 2011 about forty percent did not use a condom on their last sexual encounter ("Future of Sex Education Initiative," 2011) . Comprehensive approaches to sex education will help young people withstand the pressures to have sex too soon and to have healthy, responsible, and mutually protective relationships when they are ready to and become sexually active (guttmacher.org, n.d.) .

If sex education is provided starting in fifth grade more teen pregnancies could be prevented and there would be a potential decrease in sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections. Early sex education would enable young people to withstand the peer pressure of becoming sexually active prematurely and would posture young people to lead healthy sex lives when they are ready. There is a national sexual education standard teaching chart that was released in 2011. The education provided is designed to be developmentally and age appropriate. The need for this document emerged because of the inconsistent implementation of sexual education as well as the limited time currently allocated to teaching the topic in schools ("Future of Sex Education Initiative," 2011) . Having a standard curriculum on this topic will provide educators with clear recommendations on what information is age-appropriate based on grade level. Many parents feel that forgoing early sex education is more harmful than not. Polls reveal that ninety-three percent of parents want sex education included in the school's curriculum. More than half of seventh through twelve-grade students report, "they have looked up health information online in order to learn more about issues affecting them or someone they know." (guttmacher.org, n.d.) The information to be imparted is to be age specific. Fifth graders would be instructed on the reproductive system, proper terminology of the reproductive organs, how to identify and manage physical and emotional changes through puberty, demonstrate ways to treat others with dignity and respect, and identify trusted information sources on puberty, adolescent health, and sexual orientation such as parents, and school nurses ("Future of Sex Education Initiative," 2011) . However, many parents still feel that fifth grade children are too young to grasp the material and fully understand it.

Schools are not implementing early sex education guidelines due to additional push back from parents trying to prevent its implementation. Sex education may be offensive to some parents and students because of religious and/or moral practices. Other parents feel sex is a private matter to

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