Schools Should Provide ‘Progressive,’ ‘Proactive’ Sex Education for Students, Parents, Opinion Piece Says
Schools should provide "progressive" and "proactive" sex education that goes beyond abstinence-only approaches because "[s]ex education is a public health issue that should trump 'conservative values' and uninformed parents," Laura Berman, director of the Berman Center, a women's sexual health facility in Chicago, writes in a USA Today opinion piece. A recent study by UNAIDS showed that comprehensive sex education does not increase sexual activity among adolescents and in some cases delays its onset while reducing the number of sexual partners, Berman writes. "Talking to children about sex is not the same thing as giving them permission to have it," she says, adding that schools "need to provide ... continuing sex education programs that start early and continue throughout high school." In addition, schools should train teachers and parents to provide sex education to adolescents, Berman writes. In a "culture laced with sexuality," adolescents "are often left to fend for themselves when it comes to figuring out sex," Berman writes, adding, "We can eliminate neither the choices nor the risks inherent in our kids' sexual development," but "[w]e can ... tackle the ignorance." Teenagers are "capable of grasping [the] concept" that "information does not have to mean permission, even when it comes to sex," and it is "time that our public schools grasped this concept, too," Berman concludes (Berman, USA Today, 9/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.