Sex Education In Public Schools Essay, Research Paper
There is a major controversy in the United States today involving the education of the country’s young people in public schools. This controversy is not over standard issues such as basic math versus new math. It is over the subject of sex education. There are those who believe that sex education should be taught in the public schools. Those who favor sex education in the public schools believe that sexual adjustment is a part of total personality adjustment. it is stressed as only one part of total personality, yet an important part. Understanding one’s sexual nature is not only beneficial to the student, but to society as well. Children may not grow up to be scientist even thought they are taught science; however, they will most certainly grow up to be sexaul beings even if they are taught nothing about sex. Elizabeth K. Mooney, a research assistant at Indiana’s University for Sex Research, contends that if our young people are given facts, alternatives, and the consequence of their decisions, they will be better equipped to make decision concerning their own sexuality (Mooney, 1974). Children are receiving a distorted view of life thorugh the mass media. The manner in which sex is treated in television shows, mofeis, magazines, and books has greatly changed in the last two decades. Today’s shows and books are graphically explicit and portray promiscuity, illicit love affairs, and prostitution as common, everyday events in life. “Children need a rational perspective to help counterbalance the sensationalism and distorted images around them” (Brown, 1981). Supporters think that sex education can place these aspects of life in their true perspectives. According to research statistics, many parents are unwilling or unable to do the job. A questionnaire given to 450 Syracuse University graduates indicated that sex is not being honestly discussed in homes. Of the 450 questioned, about ninety percent indicated sex was not discussed openly or honestly in their homes (Brown, 1981).A recent Kinsey Institute poll “Showed that many parents lack basic knowledge about sex” (Pritchard, 1990). Generally, parents are concerned with the physical and mental development of their children, yet they tend to ignore questions relating to sexual development. It is difficult for many parents to accept the fact their child is a sexual being; therefore, it is difficult for them to relate to their own children in this area. If the questions concerning sex are answered, many times the answers are not factual and may be based on personal prejudices. A government funded research came to some basic concluesion. First there was a “disturbing lack of communication between parents and children about sexual matters” (Rossman, 1983). Typically, even when parents talk, younger teens tend not to listen. One reason may be foun i the second basic fact derived from the study. It states, “Teenagers receive conflicting mesages from peers, from the media, and from various adults.” (Rossman, 1983). Sex education classes could “help fill this void created either by peer misinformation or by similar misunderstanding and reluctance onthe part of parents.” (Frasier, 1972). Factual information can be given through sex education that can reduce many misconceptions. This would enable the student to gain insight and understanding that would aid in responsible decision making. Supporters of sex education believe the classroom is the only place young people can obtain honest answers to their questions. Trained educators would possess skills and knowledge to truthfully answer the variety of intimate questions teens ask. A teacher would be less emotionally involved and be for more objective in analyzing a situation. In our educational systems, students are supposed to learn information and to begin to form attitudes that will help them lead full and productive lives. Sex education in schools could provide factual information, a broad perspective on sexual behavior, and attempt to treat human sexuality as one important part of total personality. This would enable individuals to respond positively and affirmatiavely to sexuality throughout life. Supporters of sex education believe that our society needs to be realistic in the recognition that all individuals are sexual beings from birth, and theyt have the basic right to learn about the important and meaningful are of the human sexuality.