Should a right to education include sex education?
In the United States, elementary and secondary school students have a right to an education; however, this right does not include sex education. Many schools have attempted to avoid the subject altogether especially since the economy has led to serious budget cuts and funding issues.
During the administration of former President George W. Bush, abstinence-only sex education was provided federal funding which resulted in many schools no longer discussing birth control or the use of contraceptives.
Europe, on the other hand, is much more open to the subject matter making sex ed a critical part of their curriculum. In fact, sex ed is mandatory in several European countries. Public school teachers in Germany, for example, lead discussions on a variety of topics including oral sex and different sexual positions. Recently, Britain launched a new campaign to target their high teen pregnancy rate which taught about masturbation in an attempt to steer teens away from intercourse. Teachers in the Netherlands lead discussions with 12 to 15 year old girls about what they would do if their boyfriend refused to wear a condom.
Spain is in the minority of the European Union states where sex ed is not mandatory. The country recently received negative press for including the topic of masturbation as part of its new sexual education campaign that emphasizes the “development of healthy habits, self-esteem and safety.”
Sex education in public schools in the U.S. will most likely be changing to a more comprehensive approach including the discussion of contraceptives in the the next few years as President Obama has cut funding for abstinence-only education from the 2010 budget.
Do you believe sex ed should be mandatory in the U.S.? Are the programs like the ones being taught in Europe more realistic and therefore logical? Or do you think that talking more openly about sex, condoms and other contraceptives promotes and encourages teens to engage in sexual activity? Do you believe abstinence-only sex ed is the way to go for public schools or should comprehensive sex ed be offered?