Should prepubescent children (ages 4-12) be taught sex education in public schools?


Fact Box

  • The CDC qualifies sexual health education (SHE) as providing students with the knowledge and skills to help them be healthy, knowledge of how to avoid human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and unintended pregnancy.
  • Twenty-nine states and Washington DC require public schools teach sex education, 27 of which mandate sex education and HIV education.
  • According to Planned Parenthood, K-12 sexuality education programs may include: human development, relationships, personal skills, lessons on gender identity, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture.
  • According to a national survey, 66% of parents and 80% of school board members 'do not believe that schools should teach young children in kindergarten and elementary school about sexual activity, sexual orientation, or gender identity issues.”

Stephanie (No)

Providing sex education to prepubescent students in public schools is both inappropriate and unnecessary. Young children especially do not need to receive such instruction, as they are hopefully not sexually active yet; puberty generally begins at age 10 and 12 for girls and boys, respectively. Young children are innocent beings. Teaching them about sex can strip away their innocence. 

For example, children exposed to mature information could then more easily understand adult humor often hidden throughout the media, instead of having a typical childhood experience. They have the rest of their lives to be inundated with society's hyper-sexualized culture. It's arguable that learning about sex at such a young age normalizes it for developing minds. This can potentially make children more likely to engage in sexual activity before they typically would, as some modern curricula, known as 'comprehensive sexuality education,' discuss 'sexual pleasure and promiscuity as a right for children,' among other graphic topics that promote sex

This type of sex education has also evolved to include homosexuality, 'anal sex, and bondage,' and other controversial subjects that are entirely unnecessary for children to learn. If schools or organizations wish for curricula to include this content, then it should be introduced at an older age, if at all. However, if parents decide for their prepubescent children to be exposed to adult education, then it remains up to them. It should not be at the school district's discretion. Remember — children will get sex education later in life; it simply does not need to occur at such an early age.

William (Yes)

When hearing the words 'sex education,' some might imagine videos only adults should see. Sex education, like any form of education, exists to shed light on the ignorance of a topic. A vital part of sex ed involves instructing children about self-protection (from outsider touch) and the self-confidence to say no. Parents play a vital role in teaching their prepubescent children at an early age these things and laying the foundation for avoiding sexual abuse. Early sex ed is important for many reasons. It teaches children, who are increasingly exploring their body parts, about their body parts, including their correct anatomical names, to understand what is appropriate and inappropriate touch, and how to respect their body properly.

Puberty influences boys and girls differently as hormones shape female and male bodies differently. Sex ed prepares these youths for growth spurts, developing body hair, body odor, and more, which influence their mental health. Sex ed help's a child's mental health when age-appropriate material builds the foundation needed to develop into healthy adolescents and supports an accurate view of sexuality. Considering the vast amounts of sex materials freely available on the internet, prepubescent children need proper guidance when they encounter this material.

The topic of the 'sexualization' of children and its far-reaching effects that media marketing presents about a child's sexual identity shape the mental health and values that will follow. Children are naturally curious, including and especially about their bodies. Children need to understand how to manage the stages of puberty before they begin to experience it, especially since there is increasing evidence that the first stages of puberty now begin even earlier.

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