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Should sex education be taught in schools? Show more Show less

With the increasing ubiquity of sexual images, teenagers receive a constant stream of sexual imagery and information. But whose responsibility is it to equip children and teens with the necessary knowledge to form attitudes about sex, relationships and intimacy? Is it the parents'? Or should educators provide teens with comprehensive sex education classes in schools?
Teaching sex education in schools robs parents of the decision of when, and how much, to tell their child about sex.
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Every child is different

Children and teenagers develop at different rates. You cannot apply a one-size-fits-all approach to sex education.

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Context

Teaching sex education in schools means every child is exposed to the same sexual themes at the same age. This one-size-fits-all approach is a dangerous way to teach sex education and makes no allowances for the different rates at which children sexually mature.

The Argument

In a school setting, a sex education class will be inserted into a curriculum which dictates that every child should learn about the same topic at the same time. While this may work with subjects like maths and science, it does not work with sexual education. Children and teenagers psychically develop at different rates. While one child may appreciate learning about contraceptive methods at 13 or 14, another child may find the topic distressing and would be better off waiting until they are older. By putting sex education under a school’s purview, children may be exposed to sexual themes before they are ready. Making it the responsibility of the parents will mean that a child can receive the necessary education at the right time for them.

Counter arguments

Firstly, the notion that the parent will be able to accurately determine when a child needs to receive information on contraceptive options and the importance of engaging in safe sex is fundamentally flawed. Teenagers are notoriously disengaged from their parents and are unwilling to share details about their lives— particularly the details surrounding love and relationships. Making the parents the gatekeepers of that information, who often see their teenagers as much younger and more innocent forms of themselves than they actually are, could leave teenagers in the dark about safe sex for too long. The second false assumption is that just because one teenager didn’t receive a sex education lesson from their parents or their teachers, they won’t be exposed to the information. Teenagers talk. By taking the teachers out of the equation, the only thing that will happen is the teenagers will look to their friends for information. When this happens, there is no way of controlling the information they receive. If one student knows more than the others, they will share. This is how misinformation spreads. Teenagers may turn to pornography to glean a better understanding of sexual relationships, which will likely be far more damaging than a simple sex education class. With a comprehensive sex education program in schools, teachers and parents can ensure that every child receives accurate information.

Premises

[P1] Every child sexually matures at a different rate. [P2] Therefore, some will need to know about sexual themes at a time when others still feel very uncomfortable talking about sex. [P3] Teaching sex education in schools would expose all students to the same themes at the same time. [P4] This will be traumatising and uncomfortable for some students. [P5] Therefore, sex education should not be taught in schools.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Children will be exposed to sexual themes regardless of whether or not the school is teaching them.

References

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Proponents

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 15 Aug 2019 at 20:09 UTC