Chicago Public Schools to Provide Age-Appropriate Sex Ed for Younger Students
March 25, 2013
There is one question that is often debated when it comes to teaching kids about sexual health: How early is too early? Currently, Chicago Public Schools’ health program requires that comprehensive sexuality education be taught starting in the fifth grade. By 2016, however sexuality education will be taught to students as young as five years old in Chicago Public Schools.
You might be wondering what kind of information these kids will be given at such an early age. Don’t worry—the district plans to ease students in with basic knowledge of their bodies, their feelings and the differences between appropriate and inappropriate touching. As the grade levels increase, so will the maturity of the topics: older students will learn about things like puberty, the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and eventually how to practice safer sex and prevent pregnancy.
Of course, parents can choose for their children to opt out of the courses. But that might not be the best decision because there is a lot of vital information that their kids will miss out on. This new curriculum will also introduce gender identity, sexual orientation and bullying, topics that are rarely discussed in schools, but very important.
I admire Chicago Public Schools for taking a step forward in making their sex ed more comprehensive. Not only are they providing more kids with information, but they’re providing information that is necessary and often overlooked. Sexuality will continue to be something high school students learn about, but now younger students will learn basic information about relationships, setting boundaries and their bodies—information that lays the foundation for learning about sexuality.