Letters to the Editor

Involve parents

March 12, 2012


To the editor:

I recently stated it is inappropriate to present young children information about anatomy and sexual development in public classrooms. Children are publicly embarrassed by this. We silence children as they develop a tendency to not ask questions when this information is fed to them in public classrooms.

There is a positive solution. Parents frequently are perceived as “not intelligent” by young people, especially during their teenage years, only later to find out that their parents were smarter than they thought when they were younger.

Public schools listened to teenagers, perhaps ignoring parents’ better judgment. It is only later that we’re finding out that parents may have been correct about their children from the start. Parents don’t need public classrooms presenting information about anatomy and sexual development to their young children.

It seems parents have been perceived as not capable of handling this sensitive information with their children. Schools balked on a golden opportunity to involve parents in their children’s education. Involving parents would be the natural solution.

It has been a lament that parents are not involved in their children’s education. If schools (and now social welfare agencies) were concerned that parents become more involved in the lives of their children, we’ve missed a golden opportunity. Instead of presenting this sensitive information to a classroom of young children, perhaps parents would meet for helpful advice on talking with their children about sexual development.

Next thing you’re going to tell me is that parents would never meet together in a public room to talk about sexual development and such sensitive information.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

"When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant that I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in only seven years." - Mark Twain

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

"It seems parents have been perceived as not capable of handling this sensitive information with their children."

That perception is very true in many cases.

It's just like mathematics, chemistry, physics, and accounting. If all the students were already familiar with those subjects and could demonstrate their proficiency on the first day of class by scoring well on achievement tests, there would be no need for the teachers to waste their time discussing things the students knew all about already.

Plus, you used the plural of parents in your discussion. It is an unfortunate fact that a large percentage of children do not have two parents.

Sex education in the public schools did not come about until large numbers of young girls were becoming pregnant and without a clear idea how this had happened, and venereal diseases began to spread very quickly.

If all parents were knowledgeable about sexual topics and were comfortable discussing them with their children, this would not be an issue.

Sadly, that is not the case.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 3 months ago

Excellent letter, but that train left the station a long time ago and isn't likely to come back. The fact is that far too many of those involved in public education today view it as their sacred mission to usurp parental functions in order to reach what are defined by government bureaucrats as "at-risk children," even if those children live with two parents and have stable home environments. This obsession affects public education in a myriad of ways, not just with issues relating to sex education. It's become a maelstrom: The more it's inflicted on children, the less all of the kids learn, even more "at-risk" kids are created, and ultimately society itself is dumbed down to the point of collapse.

if you doubt me, then tune into Jay Leno the next time he asks random people on the street, especially young people, to answer the simplest of routine questions about American history, geography, politics or literature.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

cato, there's no need to go to all that trouble. All you have to do is read some of the postings on this forum. Very few of the posters here have read much history, and it seems that a lot of them watch a lot of television, which I never do.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 3 months ago

There are a few good things on television, even though most of what is broadcast on television today is still the vast wasteland that Newton Minow first described in 1961.

tomatogrower 6 years, 3 months ago

When our boy was coming of age there was an excellent sex education program offered that did involve the parents. You took it with your child. My husband went for the physical part, and I attended the sessions with the relationship part. I don't know if they have lost the funding for this, but it was great.

I'm 50 something, and in the "good old days" before sex ed in school parents did little to tell their students about anything. We learned it on the street, just like they did. Of course, back then how many people went to live with Aunt Jane for awhile, or suddenly decided they were going to drop out of school and get married? They magically returned looking skinnier, or they had a full grown premature baby. Quit turning the past into some moral fantasy.

tomatogrower 6 years, 3 months ago

By the way, the course was offered by Douglas County. If this still exists, I highly recommend it.

9070811 6 years, 3 months ago

if we are going to learn about the heart, lungs, etc and the health issues/preventative care regarding these organs, then reproductive organs should also be covered. I don't forsee every guardian of being capable to teach the anatomy of both the male and female bodies; let alone the many complicated issues that arise in reproductive organs. Furthermore, not every student has two parents, or even one. There are students in foster care and other housing situations where reproductive health knowledge is not readily available or discussed.

So if you're going to teach me that smoking cigarettes will severly increase my changes of lung cancer then please teach me that having unprotected sex will severly increase my changes of contracting an STD. Please tell me the signs of the STDs as well, that way I may recognize a health issue 'down there' and seek medical help.

Remove the stigma of reproductive health as sensitive. Our reproductive organs are vital and deserve just as much care as our lungs, our hearts and our diets.

voevoda 6 years, 3 months ago

Parents can always introduce the subjects of anatomy and sexuality to their children before they hear about it at school, and so inculcate in them the values the parents prefer. If the parents don't do this, then it's a good thing that the schools do. Incidentally, the letter writer conflates teenagers, who certainly do need full knowledge about anatomy and sexuality, with "young children" (7 year olds?) who need only more basic information. But they do need that basic information.

asixbury 6 years, 3 months ago

Parents are given the choice to withhold their children from these "courses" if they so choose.

aryastark1984 6 years, 3 months ago

I know the LW is well intentioned. But, she is just wrong. Study after study has shown that sex education is actually associated with a delay in sexual activity AND using contraception the first time you have sex. One of the benefits of talking about sex in class, in the light of day in a seriously non-sexy environment, is that it makes it LESS embarrassing to talk about sex later, with a potential sexual partner. Finally and probably most importantly, it gives kids an appropriate vocabulary for asking questions later on.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Maybe the letter writer doesn't need help or want help. Is this the way all families think?

Straight talk is healthy talk in my view.

Some children may well be embarrassed to discuss matters of sex. Does this begin at home?

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