By now, you have probably heard about how Ontario is revising its sex education curriculum. Starting this fall, age groups as young as Grade 3 will be taught about the birds and the bees — in age-appropriate ways, we’re told. For older age groups, more explicit topics (such as masturbation, anal intercourse and vaginal lubrication <- I got this from an article) will be covered.
Naturally, “family-focused” groups (read: the Christian Right) are outraged, particularly about lessons regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
Premier Dalton McGuinty defends the revision, saying it’s either teachers, the internet or schoolyard informants.
I think I’m with McGuinty on this one. While I can’t imagine my step-daughter (Grade 1 now) learning about this stuff in less than two years, I would rather her learn about sex from an educator and not a schoolmate… like I did (thank you to Ben, wherever you are). I also think incorporating education on homosexuality has potential to reduce homophobia and subsequent bullying.
For those who are against it, I can see their fear of encouraging youth in the direction of promiscuity. Unfortunately, there is no evidence saying that stifling sex education (or in some regions, abstinence-only education) reduces the likelihood of sexual activity in young teenagers. In cases where information is held back, youth tend to turn to other misleading sources to learn what they want to know (i.e. porn). We also see that the more information people have, the more informed decisions they make — which could very well mean waiting to have sex.
While I understand the hesitancy, I think we need to embrace the fact kids are smarter than we think. They will learn about sex one way or the other, so why not take matters into our own hands and make sure they are getting proper information?
What do you guys think?