A reportedly graphic sex education lesson has brought a Jay, Oklahoma, middle school under fire after parents saw a worksheet that was sent home with students. Jay superintendent Kenneth Bridges claims that he was unaware of the lesson plan and asked the middle school principal to end the program immediately, News on 6 reported.
Parents claim that one of the worksheets teaches students how to have sex, rather than teaching them how to be safe. The worksheet in question asks students to fill in the blanks to define sex and identify four types of sex (mutual masturbation, oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex). In reality, the worksheet does not describe in detail how one would actually perform each act and have sex, it simply identifies them as sex. Parents are outraged over basic information meant to help students understand and make educated decisions about sex.
Superintendent Bridges told News on 6 that the sex education curriculum came from the Connection Institute, part of LifeChoices Health Network, and has been used in several other school districts in the area. This is the second year that Jay has used the curriculum after the school board approved it last year.
One parent said in a Facebook post that the lesson was co-ed and taught by outside instructors. While a co-ed lesson can be uncomfortable, and not the best choice for middle school students, it definitely is not unheard of. According to Superintendent Bridges the instructors were from Lighthouse Pregnancy Center in Jay. In the Facebook post, the parent also said that parents had not been made aware of the lesson plan and believes that the school district overstepped its role.
Many teenagers only learn what constitutes sex by word of mouth, which is not always reliable and can skew teens’ perceptions of sexual relationships. Furthermore, many teens experience sexual harassment and even assault without really understanding what happened to them. It’s impossible for a person to consent to a sexual act if they don’t know that the act is indeed sex.
It’s also important to have an accurate definition of sex so that teens understand what situations require protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to Womenshealth.gov, STIs can be transmitted by having unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex and through genital touching. A common misconception is that you can only get an STI by having penetrative sex, but teens need to be aware of the risk every time they engage in any sort of sexual activity.
The trend for sex education in Oklahoma seems to be that there is little to none of it and that parents believe schools do not have the right to teach students about sex. The public school system in the United States has been entrusted to give children a basic education to help them succeed in life, and a basic knowledge of human anatomy and sex should be included in that. Parents who believe that teens shouldn’t have even the simplest understanding of sex aren’t likely to teach their kids about sex at home, making it necessary for schools to teach sex ed.
Whether parents want to recognize it or not, kids have sex and often start having sex in high school, sometimes even younger. Middle school is the time to introduce teens to sex so that they are informed about all of their options and are prepared to make the right decision for them.