Seriously people. This is why we cannot have nice things. The country is freaking out today because Chicago schools have approved a sex ed curriculum that begins in kindergarten and continues on through each grade. Mommy blogs are freaking out. Conservative outlets are rushing to condemn the program. Everyone’s gasping, “Sex Ed In Kindergarten!” with looks of shock and horror on their faces. And they’re all completely missing the details of the program and why it’s so important.
Plenty of schools have had “sex education” for even the youngest students for years now. They might not refer to it as “sex ed” but it covers almost all of the same information that Chicago’s proposed curriculum does and it’s extremely age-appropriate. For example, kindergartners learn anatomy and they learn about appropriate touching, which is a very important topic.
Want a good example of a kindergarten sex ed lesson? How about the bathing suit talk, one that I’ve already had with my 5-year-old and one that I think every parent should have? Basically, it teaches children that the area of their bodies covered by a bathing suit are “private areas.” We shouldn’t touch these areas on other people and other people shouldn’t try to touch them on us. If someone does, you need to tell an adult you trust.
That was super scandalous, right? A horrible example of liberal educators trying to turn young children into sexual deviants? No. Not exactly.
I agree that we need to wary of anything that attempts to sexualize kids at an early age. But I think there’s a difference between giving them important, age-appropriate information and sexualization. No one is attempting to tell your 6-year-old about the birds and the bees. That being said, as parents, wouldn’t you want your child to learn that if someone tries to touch them in an inappropriate way, they should come talk to you about it? How exactly are schools harming children by providing this message?
The outrage and backlash to the Chicago curriculum announcement are filled with misunderstanding and incorrect assumptions. It’s possible that a large part of the anger is coming from a decision to include discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in the sex ed curriculum. In direct opposition to Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” measures, Chicago will begin discussing sexual identity in hopes of preventing bullying and raising awareness.
The program being implemented in Chicago should be a model for our country. We should applaud them for helping even the youngest students address these important issues in an appropriate manner. And we should disregard anyone trying to spread ignorance and fear.
There is nothing wrong with teaching children about their anatomy. And helping them understand the importance of “Good touch, Bad touch” could lead to saving children from potentially harmful situations. To demonize this and turn it into something it’s not is either stupidity, dishonesty, or both.