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Pastoral and social/personal education - is sex education contentious - Essay Example

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Summary
Sex education is an important part of our overall task of preparing children for the future. When we are stressing manners, responsibilities, satisfying curiosity or the concept of God's love, we are contributing substantially to a framework of attitudes and information which can assist us in helping children assimilate the story of growth and reproduction…
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Pastoral and social/personal education - is sex education contentious
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Pastoral and social/personal education - is sex education contentious

Download file to see previous pages... If we do not talk with children about sex, who will
We face a twofold responsibility -- presenting and listening to facts about sex, and discussing feelings about sex. Often our attitudes (feelings) give us more problems than factual information about sex. Stories and jokes about sex are common, in some degree, at all age levels. These reflect our curiosities as well as our anxieties. If we can first admit that discussing all aspects of sexual growth and development makes us uneasy, we can begin to learn by and thus be more helpful to children.
According to a national survey conducted for the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, there appears to be a clear majority of citizens who do favor sex education in the schools. Sex education programs in public schools were approved by 58% of the men and 54% of the women, with an additional 13% and 16% of men and women giving a qualified approval. A minority of 23% were totally opposed to sex education in the schools. These data also suggest that a substantial number of parents are dissatisfied with the present methods for the transmission of sexual information and are looking to public education for a more effective solution. In a more recent poll that consisted of 1518 personal interviews of people over the age of 17 in 300 locations selected to represent the United States census, 77% felt that sex education should be taught in schools (Kirby, D, 1999, 195-209).
The discussion of contraceptives in sex education courses was supported by 69% of the population. Of some note, given the Roman Catholic Church's official position on artificial means of birth control, Catholics were just as likely as Protestants to approve of sex education classes in the schools, approve of having these classes discuss birth control, and favor making birth control devices available to teenagers.
Some puts a stigma on the subject of sex, with the implication that the relationship between the sexes is something to be hidden, to be ashamed of. The child often may need reeducation rather than new knowledge, to be freed first of the troublesome attitudes which he may have absorbed, the information he has picked up, and the anxieties and feelings which have developed as a result, before he is ready to understand and accept on a new and fresh basis.
The debate over sex education in the schools always heated up. The arguments for democratic education are complicated in this context by the fact that adolescents and teens are legally minors, and hence, rarely accorded either legal or moral autonomy. Several layers of paternalism, therefore, smother students' rights to know how to protect themselves from HIV infection. Schools may act in loco parentis, to be sure, and could arguably decide that explicit sex education is in the students' best interests. But schools are run by school superintendents, school boards, and parents --not to mention state legislatures and county and city governing boards. And parents have traditionally been allowed authority in areas considered to be religious or moral instruction.
Though, the majority now say they are 'in favor' of sex education. Many junior ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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