Blog: The Educated Reporter

Coalition Wants Middle Schoolers Taught About Sexual Orientation

A coalition of health and education groups wants students to know by the end of eighth grade that sexual orientation is “the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender,” according to this story from Kimberly Hefling of the Associated Press.

The coalition also recommends that students as young as second grade should know the “correct names” for both male and female anatomy. There should also be standards for anti-bullying education, the coalition says.

Hefling got this quote from Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Education Abstinence Association, who opposes the coalition’s recommended standards: “This should be a program about health, rather than agendas that have nothing to do with optimal sexual health decision-making … Controversial topics are best reserved for conversations between parent and child, not in the classroom.”

If you’re planning to localize this story for your readers, here’s a few places to start: What’s being taught in your school districts, and at what age are such topics introduced? What textbooks are being used in the district’s health classes, and when were they last updated? Does your district have a committee to approve any changes to sex ed curriculum, and, if the answer is yes, who sits on the committee? Ask local advocacy groups how often they are invited (or allowed) to visit schools and make presentations to students on sex-related topics. You might be surprised at some of the answers.


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