Survey of Parent Responses to an Elementary School Human Sexuality Program

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PIP The potential benefits of sex education cannot be realistically discussed without initially rooting out the fears and myths which prevent the active promotion of good programs. The truth of the situation is that knowledgeable and informed adolescents are more likely to postpone sexual relations until they feel emotionally ready and are able to take the necessary precautions against pregnancy and venereal disease. It is essential that sexuality programs be taught with values. When teaching contraception, the instructor needs to convey some basic guidelines. Sex education should be taught from the perspective that it is wrong to take advantage of another individual. The function of a "moral" education is to encourage people to strive toward the universally accepted ideals of this democratic and pluralistic society and to offer facts which facilitate responsible decision making. The value of equality of the sexes, dignity and respect for all human being must be taught. A great difference exists between being moral and being moralistic. In moralistic presentations the attempt is made a impose a personal point of view in a dogmatic way. Sex education programs are best taught from a moral perspective which encourages the accepted aspirations of this society while preserving individual liberty. Given these guidelines, even the most controversial subjects may be discussed in school within a moral framework. A quality sex education program must include the following principles: enhancing the self-concept; preparation for marriage and parenthood; understanding love; preparation for making responsible decisions; helping people understand the need for equal opportunities for males and for females; and contributing to knowledge and understanding of the sexual dimension of life.