New sex ed guidelines give teachers milestones to strive for
Sexual education is often a controversial subject in America, as some parents feel the schools are crossing the line in teaching young students about sex. However, other groups have supported the cause, saying it's important for kids to have information before they're sexually active, so that when they begin, they know how to protect themselves against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Associated Press reports that new guidelines on sexual education recommend how much students should know by certain ages. For example, elementary pupils should know the proper names of all body parts and children in fifth grade should understand the differences in sexual orientation and defining bullying and sexual abuse.
Additionally, students will continue to tackle more significant issues as they get older. The AP reports that by the end of eighth grade, adolescents should be able to discuss gender roles, know the signs of pregnancy and explain to someone who has been raped or sexually assaulted that it is not their fault.
Advocates for the guidelines suggest it's important for teachers to begin laying the groundwork for these lessons before students come up with preconceived notions, particularly with sexual orientation and bullying.
"The data points that trying to cover this stuff when kids have already formulated their own opinions and biases by the time they're in middle and high school, it's too late," Cora Collette Breuner, a pediatrics professor at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital, told the news provider.
However, others suggest that the sexual education talks should be left up to families, allowing parents to bring up the topic when they feel their child is ready.