Sex Ed: How Do I Find Out What's Happening in the Classroom

by Chad Hills

Whether it's in science class, physical education or in a special session at school, your children will likely be exposed to some message — or a series of messages — about sexuality. Far too often, parents learn of their child's exposure to explicit "education" materials after the fact.

When invited into the school, groups like Planned Parenthood often teach distorted sexual values and categorize "acceptable" sexual activity outside of God's design for sex. This goes directly against the desire of many parents who want their children to abstain from sexual activity before marriage.

Don't assume sex-ed classes will be appropriate for your child. Investigate. Start by looking at what your state requires schools to teach regarding sex. Note whether parents are able to "opt-out" of (meaning your children can't receive sexuality instruction without your written permission) or "opt-in" to (meaning the school can give them sexuality instruction unless you sign a form prohibiting it) sex education and if permission waivers are required. Next, learn your district's policy on sex education by visiting your district's website.

Now you are ready to meet with your school's administrators. You want this to be a positive experience, so ask questions before there is a problem. Questions you can ask include:

Does the school's sex education program place parents in control of sex education? If so, how? (See the Parents' Bill of Rights to help your school further understand parental involvement.)

What core message does the school support — a contraceptive-based or abstinence-based messaging?

What grade does sex education start?

What curriculum is used, and when can I schedule a time to review it?

Does the school have a parental consent form, allowing my children to either opt-in or the ability to opt-out?

How does the school intentionally involve and include parents?

Who teaches sex-ed classes? Planned Parenthood, a phys-ed teacher, a science teacher or someone else?

What are the school's policies regarding the expression of sexual activity on school property?

Chad Hills is the policy and research analyst for sexual health at Focus on the Family.

Get more tips on how to effectively approach school officials:
Sex Ed: Is Your School Respecting Your Family's Values?

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission.

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