Should Sex Education be Taught in Schools

For many years, the idea of conducting sex education in schools has raised vicious debates across the United States. Today, the topic is even more intense not only within the country but in the whole world as parents still doubt whether it is appropriate to include sexual education in the school syllabus. Traditionally, the concept of sex was only mentioned in low tones within society and in families and children only learned about it when they were old enough. The advancements in technology revolutionized the secretive nature in which the topic was handled as it exposed children to excess information regarding sex. Moreover, in the 1980s, the HIV crisis began, and governments were forced to air issues regarding sex, which was the primary medium of transmission, in live television to create awareness and educate their citizens on how to prevent it. Among the common adverts included the uses of protective measures such as condom. Soon, the government realized many young people were engaging in risky sexual relations, which exposed them to contracting HIV and thus decided to incorporate sex education in the school curriculum. The government even distributed condoms to schools. The idea has since sparked heated debates globally, and until today, many parents still wonder whether sex education should be taught in schools. Besides, most parents always find it challenging to discuss sex issues with their children. This paper begins by focusing on the reasons why sex education should be taught in schools and will proceed to provide the counter-argument that sex education should not be in the schools’ curriculum. Each argument is supported in details, and the paper ends with a detailed analysis of the merits of reasoning observed in both cases.

Argument in Support of Sex Education Should be Included in the School Curriculum

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Premise 1: Many studies have been conducted regarding the provision of sex education in schools, and most have proved that it helps children from engaging in risky sexual behaviors.

Premise 2: Sex education helps to normalize sexual issues and thus give parents and children an easy time when discussing sexual matters.

Premise 3: Parents resistance from educating their children in matters of sexuality is contributing to societal evils like early marriages, unwanted pregnancies, increased rates of abortions, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Premise 4: Sex education empowers teenagers against sexual violence by helping teenagers understand themselves biologically and even empowers them to speak when their sexual rights are violated.

Premise 5: Research indicates young children with a comprehensive understanding of the possible consequences of sex are likely to maintain their virginity for a longer time.    

Conclusion: Sex education is essential in schools is important

Support for the Argument that Sex Education in Schools is Important.

The first premise has been proven severally in various studies. Research indicates that teaching children about sexual activity help to protect them against unprotected sex and associated problems like unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases (Löfgren-Mårtenson, 2012). An article in the American Journal of Nursing indicated showed that sex education reduced the rates of pregnancy by up to 60%. The study attributed the results to the knowledge about contraception which they assumed many teens who knew about them used when engaging in intercourse. The first premise can be merged with the third premise, which reinstates the consequences of ignorance about sexuality issues which endangers the lives of young people. According to experts, since parents have failed in teaching their children about sexuality issues, they will either learn from school or the internet. Unfortunately, the internet cannot be controlled and possess more harm than good regarding the topic.  

Research has shown that there exists a strong sensitivity around sexuality matters in families, and sexual education would help to normalize the issue. The second premise focused on the challenges that parents encountered when discussing sexual issues with teenagers. Many parents find it difficult to mention sexual topics to their children due to fear of being asked weird questions. Research indicates that most parents would rather let their children learn about sex from other relatives like it used to happen in the old days where grandparents were tasked with the responsibility of sexual education. Unlike parents, teachers are trained to handle the topic professionally. Experts believe that teaching sex in schools will normalize the issue to an extent even father would be able to teach their daughters about menstruation as a natural event and ways of handling the situation.

There is no sufficient evidence to support the fourth theory because very little has been done to establish the relationship between sex education and children’s empowerment since society believes that it is common sense to know when someone is violating an individual’s sexual rights. However, numerous articles have been published on how ignorance has pushed many young people into sex traps. Criminals take advantage of the gullible nature of young girls and boys and lure them with gifts only to sexually abuse them. Sexual education provides a platform for teachers to warn young people on how to be careful with strangers.    

The fifth premise supports the concept of sex education in schools by reinstating that it promotes self-efficacy among young people and thus may help them abstain for a longer period before engaging in sex for the first time. Moreover, it enables young people to rethink about the nature of the relationship and possible consequences before engaging in sexual encounters. Sex education also offers an opportunity for teachers to advise on alternative activities student couples can engage in other sexual intercourse.

Argument that Sex Education should not be Taught in Schools.

Premise 1: Sex education in schools gives a motive to the students for initiating sexual behavior. Students who had no prior information about sex are likely to become more curious and thus are tempted to try it out.

Premise 2: Sexual education in schools will taint sexual modesty in society as students may think of it as permission to engage in sexual immorality provided they used contraception.     

Premise 3: Sexuality means more than just information about sex relevant to health

Premise 4: Teachers entrusted with teaching the subject lack adequate skills and training 

Conclusion: Sex education may introduce some children into sexual intercourse either because they are excited or because they do not want to embarrassed by their colleagues who are already sexually active.    

Support for the Argument that Sex Education should not be Taught in Schools

The first premise states that sex education may cause a motive for students to engage in sexual intercourse. The argument seems valid since, unlike other subjects in school, students have sexual organs and obtaining the information may motivate them to engage in it practically. Moreover, the education is likely to stimulate student’s curiosity to search deeper into the topic. Since more research would be done online, the students may encounter with information that will push them into immoral activities.

The second premise provides support for the motion against the teaching of sexual in schools stating that it sounds like telling students to engage in sex but to be cautious (Giami et al., 2006). The statement indicates that by allowing sex education to be taught in schools, the government is more interested in preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases instead of focusing on upholding morality in society. Moreover, the lesson is likely to clash with religious views, some of which are against sex encounters before marriage and the use of contraception. If a school fails to sort the disparity by creating awareness about the coexistence of the two, students may become confused.

The third premise seems not interested so much in eliminating the entire curriculum but to make sex education be more than just information about sex and relevant health. On the contrary, it requires the creation of a character that constitutes a holistic upbringing (Dent & Maloney, 2017). The statement indicates that the government should not base sex education solely on encouraging healthy sexual encounters but to teach students how to develop holistically, abstain from sex, and only engage in it once they are of the right age. 

The fourth premise supports the motion on not including sex education in the school curriculum because the teachers handling the topic lack adequate training and skills to teach the subject comprehensively. Research indicates that most teachers teaching sexual education in schools in America are barely experts and thus lack solid concepts to offer to the students. Parents are concerned that teachers with inadequate qualifications may provide incorrect information to students which may give students the wrong impression about sex. Besides, most schools offer sex education as an extracurricular course and which makes both teachers and students less serious about thus wasting time that would otherwise be used to teach other courses.   

Analysis of the Reasoning on both Sides

The arguments for and against sex education in schools have premises that are supported by sufficient scholarly research. Each case provides additional information to justify the respective conclusions. Besides, the arguments are supported with facts which are all directed towards the conclusion agreed upon, which creates a substantial truth in each case. It is, however, ironical that the conclusions contradict each other and yet they all have strong claims supported with adequate research. The contradiction, therefore, some analysis of the facts provided to determine which contains more truth on the matter.

The main factor that may have contributed to the contradiction in the conclusions is confirmatory bias. Confirmation bias is defined as the tendency of researchers to focus on information that confirms their existing ideas. It occurs from the direct impact of desire on beliefs, and it is more prominent when dealing with emotional issues. In most cases, researchers with a confirmation bias are likely to stop gathering information once the available evidence at hand confirms that the views held by the individual are true. It can also be found in individuals who are anxious and who view a concept as dangerous and thus are always looking for elements that would prove the concept is indeed dangerous.  

Confirmation bias contributed significantly to the difference in conclusion in the two arguments. The researchers may have researched with their own opinions and were, therefore, seeking more information to support what they feel and not to determine whether their thoughts were right. For instance, a researcher who believes that sex education should be included in the education curriculum is more likely to seek information from sources that are likely to support the notion. On the contrary, researchers who believe that sex education should not be taught in schools is expected to seek information among religious individuals who may offer opinions that affirm their beliefs. 

Understanding that even scholarly researchers are prone to bias and critically analyzing the reasons offered may help an individual to make an informed decision. Critical thinkers may analyze the reasons provided by those supporting sex education and those who are against and be able to figure out which argument is more valid. In my opinion, having read the various research that contributed to the premises in the articles, sex education is essential in schools. However, the syllabus should not only cover sexual matters and how to protect against diseases but should be inclusive and appropriate both culturally and developmentally. Moreover, the government should consider it a fundamental course and thus train teachers on how to teach it like other courses and not an extracurricular class. I believe that obtaining sexual information at an early age helps individuals to be more careful and thus avoid early sexual encounters, and taking protective measures for the sexually active students.

Conclusion

The analysis indicated that sex education in schools has more benefits than disadvantages. However, the disagreements between individuals on the topic will continue since both parties seem to provide arguments that suit their beliefs. The findings could be significant in designing an effective curriculum that will be inclusive and more efficient.   

References

Dent, L., & Maloney, P. (2017). Evangelical Christian parents’ attitudes towards abstinence-based sex education: ‘I want my kids to have great sex!’ Sex Education, 17(2), 149–164.

Giami, A., Ohlrichs, Y., Quilliam, S., Wellings, K., Pacey, S., & Wylie, K. (2006). Sex education in schools is insufficient to support adolescents in the 21st century. Sexual & Relationship Therapy, 21(4), 485–490.Löfgren-Mårtenson, L. (2012). “I Want to Do it Right!” A Pilot Study of Swedish Sex Education and Young People with Intellectual Disabilities. Sexuality & Disability, 30(2), 209–225.

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