In many states and counties all across the nation, sex ed is taught in the classroom at middle schools and/or high schools. These lessons educate students in sex, STDs/STIs, birth control and condoms. These are great lessons to know, especially during a time of puberty and sexual exploration, but what about other forms of sex ed?
Other discussions should revolve around sexual harassment and sexual assault, consent, and sexual abuse, especially at an early age when children aren’t sure what sex means. In many child sexual assault cases, many victims of abuse didn’t understand it was abuse until it’s already over, when they’re much older.
In an article by “The Atlantic,” a New Hampshire elementary school is teaching their students sex ed classes, though age appropriate for children. These programs aren’t designed to teach children sex, but rather special guest teachers educate young students on their body parts, what parts are private, and what healthy adult-child relationships should look like.
These measures help young students open up to topics about sexual abuse. Through these discussions, students may come forward about abuse happening to them or someone they know. This education is expected to prevent years of abuse by addressing it when it happens.
A lesson includes giving a baby doll a bath. The teachers say babies need help taking bath but older children typically do not. The teacher points to parts of the body and asks the children if it’s okay for adults to touch these parts during bath time.
Other lessons include teaching consent. In an exercise, children go around the room and ask their peers if it’s okay to high-five, shake hands or hug. If a child says no, the classmate must respect their word and move on.
These lessons in sex ed are important for the youth to understand at an early age, with the appropriate and professional knowledge an educator can teach them. Though these topics may be uncomfortable for some parents, these discussions are vital to protecting and educating students on their bodies and their safety.