While sitting at my desk, I noticed my wife entering my office. She shoved a piece of paper in my face and said, "We need to make a decision about this."
I grabbed the paper and read it. It was a permission slip to allow my 12 year old daughter to attend a sex education class at her middle school. Topics included: Stages of a relationship, STDs, male/female anatomy, puberty, and others that would make parents cringe.
Many of the parents in our school district did more than cringe when they received this paperwork. There was a loud outcry from parents who were upset that these things were being taught in school. They felt as if the topics were too grown-up for 7th graders to handle. I felt the same way until I started thinking of myself as a seventh-grader.
Our locker room talk was filled with sex. So was our lunch room talk. Our hallway talk and our school bus talk. A few of the guys actually knew what they were talking about, but most of us shared misinformation and outright lies. We wanted to seemed knowledgeable about sex to impress our friends, but most of us had no experience and no knowledge of the subject.
Related: 10 sex questions from seventh graders that adults can't answer
Except for my basic fifth-grade sex-ed class, no adult ever talked to me about sex in a positive way. The only time that my mother broached the subject with me was when I was leaving for college.
"You're a young man now," she said. "If you're going to have sex, be sure to use a condom."
My wife and I didn't want to make the same mistake with our children. We started having conversations with them about sex as soon as they started asking questions. We've tried to create an open environment where they feel comfortable taking to us about this sensitive subject.
I signed the permission slip because the topics are relevant and necessary. My daughter often tells me about the middle school conversations and they haven't changed much since I was their age. For many kids, this class will be their only opportunity to receive accurate information about sex.
The thing I like most about the class it that the kids are required to discuss each topic with their parents. This requirement will not only allow parents to understand what their kids are learning, but it will also help parents to have deeper discussions with their children and answer any questions that the kids may have.
What are your thoughts? Should schools teach kids about sex or is it solely the parents' responsibility?
-By Frederick J. Goodall
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