Sex education, also referred to as sexuality education, encompasses all academic measures which in many ways of life revolve around sex. The concerns comprise human sexual anatomy, emotional relations, reproductive health, human sexuality, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive rights and responsibilities, birth control abstinence, including all other characteristics of human sexual behaviour. The education brings about necessary social attitudes, practices and personal behaviour of the children and adults that is built up in protecting the individual as a human and the family as a social institution. Sexual education offered in school has met several challenges and arguments brought by those that prefer the informal education offered by parents.
It is necessary to review Halstead’s thoughts, who stated that sex education can have two forms: a formal one and an informal one. These are health care providers, who should teach pupils the formal sex education, and the informal sex education is got through conversations with friends, religious leaders, and parents; it can be also obtained through different media, for instance, through websites, magazines or sex education books. Halstead believes that sex education in school is quite important to form young people’s responsibility while growing up (Halstead 13).
According to another source we know that there are two different programs of sex education: Comprehensive Sex Education, which “starts in kindergarten and continues through high school”, and Abstinence-Only-Until Marriage Program, which “puts emphasis on abstinence from all sexual behaviours” (Witmer). Most schools combine both programs since “providing the latter program requires the parent to fill the gap in knowledge regarding contraceptives, masturbation, and other sexual behaviours” (Witmer). Comprehensive Sex Education includes different sex topics, which are appropriate to the given age, and the great amount of sex issues which include “contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases, anatomy, and other sexual aspects of human life” (Witmer).
In their works Witmer and Halstead prove that as the school curriculum is well-strategized, suitable for different age and a particular level, sex education offered in school is more effective than the one provided by parents. The reason for it is that “the teachers teaching the subjects are highly qualified and know how to handle different situations” (Witmer). Another reason offered by Halstead is that “the information delivered is not prejudiced, and the environment created ensures the children feel comfortable in learning for there is no judgement attached” (59). In this light, a parent may not have knowledge on some issues and end up misleading the child, or worse, the child can lose faith in parents since they were clueless on the issue.
In Campos’ work it is argued that sex education should be taught by parents only since they have the rights to their children from embryonic stage of life, and they know their children better. The parents are at a better position to guide their children on the sexual education. Parents can clarify any misunderstood information from television programmes and social sites the children visit; this can also be controlled by the parents since they have access to the medium used to enter such sites (Campos 34). Schools try not to leave out subtle issues that may send misguided information to the children.
The content of the sex education in school ensures that the learner understands all the aspects that involve sex like the body image, reproductive health rights, reproductive health, relationships, and sexual intercourse to the consequences. This is a great learning base since it equips children with the knowledge that enables them to make informed choices when the need arises. The teachers do this at ease and even offer tutorials to slow students ensuring that the curriculum is fully attainable. Not every parent is good in communication, thus they may leave out many features, because they believe their duty is telling the child what they consider to be right. No one will follow up on parents to ensure that they give sex education to their children; this is risky since a number of parents neglect this issue for their own reasons. Reports analyzed by Alice Park indicate that “parents push the talk when they think their children are ready; it may be precarious since the children may have started irresponsible sexual behaviour by then” (Park). To Halstead’s opinion, sex education in schools appears to be effective since the cases of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases have been reduced, he also offers teachers to “organize practical sessions on issues revolving around contraceptives to enforce the theory knowledge”(Halstead 156).
David Campos, supporting the parents sex education, claimed that “parents can always do the job adequately” since they can always use the materials from the websites like that of Even Planned Parenthood, which has always been a great supporter of parent teaching(Campos 101). He believes that parents are more determined to teach sex education since they can start education at an early age, and they notice all the changes in their children (Campos 101).
Consequently it is obvious that sex education should be taught in schools since children spend more time in school than they do at home. The parents can always add onto what is being taught in school when the children express any misunderstanding or when they observe that a certain topic was covered not satisfactorily. The teachers should encourage parents to assess their children on what they learn in school to make it easier for them to monitor the scope of education. When it is offered in school as a mandatory course, it provides the confirmation that it will reach more children of school age. The children will also be comfortable in discussing what they know with their parents. The sex education in school covers all the psychological and emotional consequences of sex and it will not let children get too much information on sex or lead them to immorality as it could happen if only parents, who can be unaware of children’s psychology, were the only teachers.