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I agree with Laurie, however I think it is the responsibility of the parent(s) to first introduce this topic with their children. How can they not? Look at the world, it is bombarded by sexual stimulus everywhere you look from TV, to billboards to kids themselves. Unless some parents are hermits it's not easy to miss the sexual messages that permeate our society.
What's the fuss??
Sex education should be conferred on the kids by parents. The mechanics in Biology class and the wisdom of what sex (act of) is used for and what we should look out for if the kids make this choice, should be exposed by teachers.
It couldn't be simpler. So online, offline, on the bus who cares as long as they get it and get the bare truth (No pussy footing around). For the moral right look at how many abandoned crack babies there are in the US who know one wants. Parents stop abdicating all you responsibilities to the education system. They are YOUR kids after all.
Get real - all living things have been doing it for eons...stop this crazy PC stuff already!
Parents should be the ones to talk to their children. However, parents are sometimes reluctant to do so. Then another trusted adult should be available. Anything by anybody can be put online. Teens need to be taught how to get rid of garbage and get reliable information.
Shouldn't it be three-fold? I certainly agree that in-school sex education, both by teachers and on-line resources, is of vital importance. However, shouldn't parents (or parent-figures) also be held responsible, in some part, for the sex education of our youth (i.e. their youth…you helped bring them into this world , did you not?)? Not only scientific research, safe-sex practices, and the option of abstinence should be taught, but individual experiences from parents (or parent-figures) should be addressed. What happened (or maybe it never was) to parents talking openly to their children? And if you do not talk openly to your kids, you should figure out how. Not only will this help kids’ sex-education, but their overall growth into adulthood.
The opportunity to learn, research, and work online provides a sense of relevance, currency, and even limited privacy to young people as they seek to answer questions they may have about themselves, their bodies, and personal topics that may be difficult to chat about in a classroom setting.
It cannot be overstated, however, that it is through a human connection with a trusted adult, whether parent or teacher, that our students need to be able to confirm and understand this information. In any online research, the ability to question and verify the accuracy of information, as well as the need to place information in a personal context, is essential. This best occurs with a person who knows the student's background, level of comprehension, and perhaps even what other information they have been exposed to -- accurate and respectful, or not.
The alternative to sex education in class is pregnancy in class.
We are dealing with a generation of students who are accustomed to getting information, whether reliable or not, via some sort of stimulating interactive experience through the internet and television. If this medium attracts and keeps the attention of these students, something as important as sex education should, at the very least, have an online component. I would think any vitally important message for the health and welfare of students should be using the most effective method of communication; educationally sound web-sites, podcasts, blogs...