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Utah

Should Utah schools offer sex education for parents?

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  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 7, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    In two schools in which I taught, we did exactly that.

    We'd let the students write any question they wanted to ask, but were afraid to. Then we gave the list of anonymous questions to the parents as we conducted what we called a "communications" workshop. Parents in one room, kids in others at first. Then everyone got together for the grand finale before all went home.

    It was a terrific success. Feedback from both parents and kids was very positive. Every time we did it, we heard parents commenting, "Gee, those are the same questions I had at that age."

    By the way, this was fifth and sixth grade.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    March 7, 2012 10:45 p.m.

    "As passed last week in the House, those subjects were bullying, substance abuse, mental health and Internet safety."

    Great topics. What most people know about mental health would fit on the head of a pin. Bullying, substance abuse and internet safety aren't far behind.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    March 7, 2012 11:41 p.m.

    No matter how many laws you pass, there is no substitute for good parenting---period.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    March 8, 2012 1:23 a.m.

    This whole situation is about as ridiculous and embarrassing as it gets, and I guarantee in a few years we will be back to teaching kids regular sex education in the classroom when unwed pregnancy rates and STDs sky rocket.

    I appreciate wholeheartedly the efforts behind focusing on abstinence. But not having a class that teaches about STDs, prevention, contraceptive use, etc. is akin to not teaching about other cultures and religions because we don't agree with what they practice. Putting one's head in the sand does not mean it will go away or doesn't exist.

    The naivete of lawmakers is bewildering at times and this is a perfect example.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    March 8, 2012 1:24 a.m.

    I personally know many parents here in Utah who completely understand some kids will be sexually active no matter what, they just don't want their own kids to be among them.

    Many of these parents truly feel they have no allies in what they are doing. They feel Hollywood is against them when they glance over TV shows and movies portraying sex as fun and exciting with no real consequences.

    They feel groups such as Planned Parenthood are against them, the idea being they are telling kids that virginity is unrealistic and unhealthy and that when it comes to sex, anything goes just so long as they pop a pill or put on a condom.

    They feel the media is against them, portraying these parents as stupid or burying their heads in the sand for telling their kids to wait until marriage or adulthood to have sex.

    So when they parents hear about sex education in the public schools, their immediate thought is, "Here's one more group telling us we can't parent our kids the way we want to."

    If you're pro-sex ed, what do you tell these parents? Face reality?

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    March 8, 2012 6:08 a.m.

    Sometimes the titles of these articles humor me. Kudos to the clever writer of this one!

    Reading this one my first thought was that offering sex education AFTER someone is a parent is exactly what this bill soon to be law had envisioned. The plus is that these younger mothers will be able to offset the demand for babies for adoption. The negative will increased welfare costs and stds.

  • first2third Elmo, UT
    March 8, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    If they are parents, then they have already figured out the sex ed thing. Just saying.

  • ThatsSoUtah Fredericksburg, VA
    March 8, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    "Is this for those of us who missed the ninth-grade maturation meeting?" said Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville.

    Isn't that one of the programs they're cutting, or wanting to cut, as well?

    I really don't understand why these guys are so concentrated on keeping people ignorant. Parents don't know everything about sexual health. I would happily take the adult sex ed seminar. If it helps parents learn actual facts instead of myths and helps parents learn how to approach the topic, it could be a very beneficial program. I think it should be done on top of the normal sex ed class for kids as well.

    The less we teach kids now, the less they'll be able to teach their kids later. We are setting our kids up for failure. This trend is very troubling.

  • ThatsSoUtah Fredericksburg, VA
    March 8, 2012 7:27 a.m.

    @ClarkHippo

    If they have a problem with what is on tv. Turn off the tv.

    If they don't like Planned Parenthood, don't take their kids there and opt out of maturation programs.

    If they don't like the school curriculum, home school.

    There are plenty of ways to keep your kids ignorant and clueless if your really want to. Why a parent would want to do this is beyond me, it's only going to set them up for failure as an adult.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    March 8, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    Ignorance is never power, except to those in power.

    You can't reasonably make the arguement "The parent's are responsible for the sexual education of their children" and then turn around and say "We will give parents all of the educational resources that they need EXCEPT for sexual education resources. Can't figure out how to talk to you kids? Sorry, you're on your own." Pick one or the other, but stop being so squeamish about it.

  • fish8 Vernal, UT
    March 8, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    So if the parents are still in High School themselves (Since we aren't going to teach them about birth control there is a good chance this will happen.)can they attend the class?

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    March 8, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    Having sex and teaching about sex are very different. Knowing why 'friends with benefits' is
    not a good idea, knowing that there are some very tragic results from being promiscuous. Parents are more likely to teach the moral responsibilities of having sex than the teacher in the classroom teaching only the 'mechanics'.
    Give the parents the teaching materials. My fifth grade son was no where near being taught in a group setting about sex, but again that was 38 years ago, and as the saying goes, 'we've come a long way baby'

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 8, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    Re: ThatsSoUtah 7:27 a.m. March 8, 2012
    "There are plenty of ways to keep your kids ignorant and clueless if your really want to."

    No question about it. A lot of kids have learned everything they know by watching mom acting like an alley cat with all her boyfriends, girlfriends, or both. Decent parents start teaching their children the concepts of concepts of chastity and morality at an early age, and aren't willing to relinquish their responsibility to some teacher who may be confused about their own sexuality.

    Children who don't want to listen to their parents certainly aren't going to listen to a teacher who may be shacking up with her boyfriend .... or some significant other.

  • ThatsSoUtah Fredericksburg, VA
    March 8, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    @Rifleman

    I don't believe that having a sex education class in school does anything to take away a parent's ability to teach their children about morality. Information alone does not posses a morality. It is neutral. What a person does with information is separate and that alone constitutes morality.

    I've seen you bring up a teachers' home life several times in your posts and do not see that as having anything to do with this topic or any other topic. As long as a teacher's ability to teach is not impacted by their home life, it is of no concern to anyone. Thinking back on my school years, I don't remember knowing or caring anything about a teacher's home situation. Whether they were married or single, living with or without another person.

    As long as a teacher can do their job in a neutral manner, then it is irrelevant.

    Children who don't listen to their parents might very well listen to a teacher. Different experiences with different people can very well dictate the weight their words have on kids. It might be easier for a kid to talk to a teacher than their parent.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    March 8, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    Hey Rifleman, it takes a father also to conceive, but apparently it's only the woman's fault, right? Sounds like you're right there with Rush on this one!

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 8, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    Re: xscribe 10:34 a.m. March 8, 2012
    "Sounds like you're right there with Rush on this one!"

    Trying to link me with someone I don't agree with (Rush Limbaugh) is a bogus argument that only weakens your position. I was, however, thinking about the Salt Lake City woman, Felicia Rea McClure, who was arrested and charged with trying to sell her 13-year-old daughterÂs virginity to a man for $10,000.

    Parents need to step up to the plate and accept the responsibilities that rest on the shoulders of parents.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    March 8, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    One thing our legislators don't seem to understand is that abstinence-only programs don't work very well, as shown by a study from the University of Georgia. Such programs may postpone sexual activity for a year or two, but if people want to have sex, they will have sex. I do believe, though, that abstinence-only programs should be part of sex ed classes taught by our schools.

    I believe that parents have the primary responsibility to teach the dangers of sexual activity and, if the parents so believe, to teach abstinence-only until marriage. I believe that churches and schools have a secondary responsibility about this. I believe in God, and I believe the only approach to abstinence-only that will work is to teach Chasity as a religious principle such that kids (and adults) practice Chasity because of their faith in God not because of fear of sexual disease. Of course, parents who don't believe in God won't teach Chasity in this way and will have to find other reasons for Chasity.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    March 8, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    I think most people haven't even bothered to read what this bill says can and can't be taught. In reality it's not much of a divergence from what schools in the state are teaching now. I think schools do need to focus solely on the biological aspects of sex, not the "how it's done." That's what parents need to be covering, and it's not the school system's responsibility to teach all those things that parents are supposed to be teaching. If kids really want to know more and don't feel they can ask their parents, they can go to a library or a bookstore (or even some sites on the internet that actually have good information.)

    If parents don't feel educated enough about the subject to discuss it with their kids, then they need to do their own research. I realize some may have been sheltered from that growing up, but as a parent that's their responsibility.

    Frankly, I think by letting the schools take responsibility for this, it's robbing children and parents of an important interaction that should bring them closer together, not an awkward event that neither feels comfortable discussing with one another.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 8, 2012 11:55 a.m.

    While I certainly enjoy the irony of the phrase "sex education for parents", as clearly parents must know where their own children came from... I hope... But our government teaching parental classes is inappropriate. The problem with other people telling one how to parent is that there are several different 'right ways' to parent or teach children.

    Not all families are the same. This is why in the LDS system functions- having a priesthood holder in every home and then ward, and so on. Things are done according to one's own needs. While we have absolute moral rights and wrongs, there isn't one parenting pamphlet the entire church follows to the letter. Different people merit different approaches.

    Now compare that system to every 'family service' from the state. Adoption agencies, Foster care, and so on- all have faced serious complaints over how they micromanage parental choices. One may not like the church- but the system works for active and faithful members, etc. Our dysfunctional government rarely 'works' according to most citizens. Why add more to a broken machine?

    My great grandpa taught children just fine. Why should I be any different? Technology doesn't change the human will or body.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    March 8, 2012 11:59 a.m.

    @ThatsSoUtah

    So let me get this straight. Parents who teach their kids to wait until marriage or adulthood to have sex are, as you said, "...ignorant and clueless..." and are setting their kids "...up for failure as an adult."

    Thank you for clarifying what myself and many others knew all along, that sex education has nothing to do with "empowering" kids or giving them valuable information. Instead, it's true aim is to tell kids:

    1. Anything goes

    2. It's okay to demonize and mock those who won't give in

  • IndeMak South Jordan, UT
    March 8, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    Very much be in favor of parents attending these types of courses to help teach some parents how to approach the subject.

    This subjects was not discussed in my home growing up and the four of us (kids) were clueless as to the birds and the bees. All we heard was from our friends and what we learned on television and from hollywood.

    If we as parents don't do a better job, our children will learn the birds and bees from the wrong sources.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 8, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    Teachers can teach about abstinence, STDs, the emotional, financial and physical consequences of sex outside of marriage as well as contraceptives. Our school district on the east coast held a mandatory parent meeting to let parents know what would be covered in the sex-ed curriculum. The kids were required to return permission slips with parent's consent for them to participate in the sex-ed program. The 5th grade curriculum did not include birth control but focused on maturation etc. However, more information was given in subsequent years.

    Many parents don't have the in-depth discussion with their children. It is a disservice to these children to not give them the opportunity to become educated in a responsible, factual way. Also, many times parents aren't privy to the current sexual practices of adolescents and so may fail to pass along pertinent information such as the health risks associated with oral sex. (which adolescents might not even view as "sex").

  • lket Bluffdale, UT
    March 8, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    love the sex ed thanks to my teahers. no problems here

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 8, 2012 1:04 p.m.

    As a parent of three young kids

    1) Do I want my kids to wait until they are married? Absolutely
    2) Will I teach them abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within? Absolutely
    3) Will perfect parenting keep them from making bad choices? Not necessarily(remember, God a perfect father still lost 1/3 of his children)

    Statistically speaking (and ask any bishop) at least one of my kids will not wait for marriage. I want them to know there are tools available to help them to help minimize any unwanted consesquences that could affect their lives for years to come. Just thinking that good parenting is the answer is ignorant and naive. If a child decides to be sexually active, there's not much a parent can do to prevent that. Remember how strong the feelings you had were when you were a teenager, it's no different now.

  • ThatsSoUtah Fredericksburg, VA
    March 8, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    @ClarkHippo
    That isn't what I said at all. Your original post makes it sound like parents are powerless today to teach kids about morality. TV/School and everything else is taking away a parent's ability to teach their kids what they expect and believe. You asked what I would tell parents who had these types of concerns. That is what I would tell them.

    Parents who refuse for their children to learn things are keeping their kids ignorant. That is the very definition of ignorant. Teaching children about sex and how to keep it safe is not telling them to go out and have sex. Even when your kid has this knowledge, you can still teach them about your version of morality and that they should wait till marriage.

    Teaching a kid about gun safety doesn't mean they're going to go out and shoot someone.

    I sincerely believe that keeping your children ignorant of things is of no benefit to them in the long term. Go watch the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks in it. How well does a kid without adult knowledge adjust to real world adult situations?

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 8, 2012 2:17 p.m.

    Re: ThatsSoUtah 1:06 p.m. March 8, 2012
    "Parents who refuse for their children to learn things are keeping their kids ignorant."

    There is nothing ignorant about the parents who accept their responsibility to teach their children concepts of morality and chastity. They are the wise parents who love their children enough not to trust someone else to teach their children basic concepts that will help them avoid the heartaches that are attached to casual sex in a public bathroom.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    March 8, 2012 9:24 p.m.

    As one who grew up outside of Utah and had sex education in middle school (I think 7th grade) and still somehow made it to marriage without having sex, I can tell you there are lots of parents like mine, good members of the Church, who were not able to have the necessary discussions with me for a variety of reasons. My dad tried, and I give him credit for trying, but he never got very far. He certainly didn't get far enough to tell me about how contraception and STDs work.

    But I do remember clearly my teachers explaining it all in detail, the risks of sex generally, how contraception works, etc. I also clearly remember the point that no form of contraception is foolproof other than abstinence (and this was in an east coast liberal town).

    If the schools don't teach it, many kids will never learn. It's the same as math, science, literature, etc. We could put the entire burden on parents and the result would be many uneducated children. If parents want to opt-out fine; but teaching it should be standard curriculum in all public schools just like any other subject.

  • across the sea Topeno, Finland
    March 9, 2012 12:38 a.m.

    Shame on Utah! The fact is, that with drugs, sex and children you are not educating your youth nor parents. Living in denial is prevelant and it kills.
    I totally agree, that education is first the responsibility of the parent. But if the parent does not know ... Who could help! The State will not, the Church will not (although it should ) and the results are irresponsibly BAD. Teen drugs, sex leading to pregnancies even deaths by ODs... It all counts to the ignorance that prevails. The Truth makes you free! But only when you act upon it.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 9, 2012 7:06 a.m.

    It is amusing that in this same legislative session the good legislators determine that teachers cannot teach about sex, but have a "responsibility" to teach about bullying and suicide. On one hand we hear don't intrude social issues that should be taught in the home, and in the next bill we say educators it is your responsibility to teach about this social issue because it is not being done in the home. These same people said the reason that they wanted to take sex education out of the curriculum because they want greater focus on reading writing and math.

    Under current state law students cannot participate in the sex education section of health classes unless parents sign a release to allow students to participate. Why fix something that isn't broken? I thought republicans believed in limited government, and want to get government out of our lives? I thought republicans believed in local control?

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 12, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    So, supposedly by passing abstinence only this indicates that the legislature has faith in the parent's ability to parent their children -

    and yet one of the statements made in support of abstinence only was that school may be the only place some children hear the idea of abstinence -

    so the legislature trusts parents to parent their kids -

    they just don't trust the parents to teach the kids what the legislature wants the kids to learn.

    Anybody else find that a little convoluted?