Sex education in schools appeared in the U.S. in early 40s, but only in the late 60s, it became common in public schools across the country (they covered about 2 % of students). Now the programs, which in one or another way study sexual behavior, sexual orientation, disease prevention, sexually transmitted diseases (especially AIDS), cover about 93% of the public schools of America. In the mid-80s, three-quarters of parents supported the idea of holding classes on these programs in high school and more than half – in between four and eight grades.
However, the attitude of the American public to the issue of sex education is by far not as unanimous as it may seem from the figures. School program of sex education has caused heated debate in the community and ended up in real confrontation, which periodically weakens, and then increasing again.
For example, at a time when Americans first recognize the seriousness of the threat posed by the spread of AIDS (mid 80s.), a significant part of parents agreed that the use of contraceptives should be taught to 12-year-olds, but now most parents, probably, do not support such extreme measures.
In addition, the efficiency of the U.S. sex education program was rather low. As before, several hundred Americans are infected with AIDS in secondary schools every year (in 1994, there were 417 cases of infection in the age group of 13-19 years, probably a lot of young people and older age group – 20-24 years old – have been infected at school age). The relative number of pregnancies in the United States among adolescents is twice as high as in schools of the developed European countries. As acknowledged by the Americans, the sex education of young people in the UK, France, Canada, the Nordic countries have been much more successful than in the U.S.
The U.S. program of sex education has required the educational system to provide significant resources in order to establish a mechanism of their distribution. However, the question remains: is there a real need in sex education in America?
Sex education program should definitely exist at least because inquisitive child’s mind does not stand the information vacuum in any matter. Moreover, if teens do not get competent and comprehensive answers to their questions in school, they will find where to fill in these knowledge gaps. And it is not the fact that the “alternative” sources of information are correct and correspond to reality. The state program of sex education based on scientific and medical basis is a must.
Moreover, it should not only include the knowledge of anatomy and physiology, but also study the psychology of sexuality.
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