Parents Do Not Want Schools To Teach ‘Explicit’ Sexual Information, Poll Conducted By Coalition of Conservative Groups Says
Although a majority of parents want schools to teach their children about using condoms and contraceptives to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, they do not want children to be taught about "more explicit" sexual issues, such as masturbation, sexual fantasies and homosexuality, according to poll results released today, the New York Times reports. The Coalition for Adolescent Sexual Health, a consortium of conservative groups that sponsored the poll, described its survey results "as a repudiation of earlier polls indicating that a heavy majority of parents supported comprehensive sex education," according to the Times. "When you ask parents in a vague euphemistic way about comprehensive sex education, they will respond one way," Peter Brandt, director of issue response at Focus on the Family, said, adding, "As we get more specific in terms of what children are actually taught, though, parents are more opposed." Advocates of comprehensive sex education "attacked" the survey, saying it quoted sex education guidelines that were developed by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, the American Medical Association and other organizations in 1991 and updated in 1995 "as if they were a curriculum, rather than suggestions" for school districts, the Times reports. "If you were going to approach it this way, you would want to ask about the things that are predominantly taught, like puberty and human growth and development," Tamara Kreinen, president of SIECUS, said, adding, "Obviously, they were polled for what they thought was most shocking." The survey comes as advocates of both comprehensive and abstinence-only sex education "square off" before Congress discusses how much funding to give abstinence-based programs, which President Bush supports. The programs teach that abstinence is the only "sure way" to avoid pregnancy and STDs and mention condoms and contraception only to point out "their potential for failure," the Times reports. The coalition of groups, including the Christian Coalition of America, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, commissioned Zogby International to conduct the survey, which polled 1,245 adults, most of whom had school-age children. According to the Times, the coalition said that "an unidentified private donor" provided funding for the poll (Schemo, New York Times, 2/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.