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Educating Our Future: an Analysis of Sex Education in the Classroom

By debamark Jun 07, 2005 587 Words
In the article entitled "Educating our Future: An Analysis of Sex Education in the Classroom", Michael J. Fucci offered his commentary on the evolution and legal ramifications of sex education programs in today's classroom. The author began by relating a brief history of how sex education programs, that began as "hygiene" based, have evolved into a more explicit curriculum. Because, according to the author, these programs now also focus on sexuality, he provided commentary on the legal issues raised secondary to parent's concerns over ceding control of their child's rearing in this sensitive area. The author also examined the efficacy of current sex education through the use of statistical information. Lastly, he considered a model that is intended to be sensitive to all involved parties' concerns.

Fucci pointed out the attempts by the courts to bring together the rights of parents and children, along with the responsibilities schools have in the education of students. The Meyer v. Nebraska decision, that articulated the inherent right of parents to decide how their children are raised, was cited as an integral part of this issue because it seems to force the idea that parents must be allowed to have a say in their child's sexual education. Other court cases were cited that involved individual religious freedom versus educational concerns of the state. The author also discussed court decisions that upheld the rights of students to refrain from participating in activities that violated their religious or moral convictions. Fucci related these decisions to sex education by pointing out that while the aforementioned decisions were brought because of opposition to political issues, the right of the student to abstain from objectionable activities applies. In discussing the rights of schools, Fucci again cited cases in which the court's decisions could be applied to the sex education issue. Specifically, cases were cited in which the rights of school boards, administrators, and districts were upheld but with the opinion or admonishment from the court that educational institutions have the responsibility to perpetuate an atmosphere and provide instruction that is consistent with traditional social and moral values.

Fucci provided statistical information relating to the effectiveness of current sex education in the prevention of pre-marital sex, pregnancy, and disease. It was the author's opinion that success rates of sex education programs has been suboptimal in these areas based on the statistics quoted in the article. In response, Fucci enumerates the positive results garnered by sex education programs based on abstinence.

Finally, a model was put forth by the author that is designed to address the rights of parents, students, and schools. The model is described as a "four pronged approach" with abstinence being the first and most central. Secondly, the role of schools in this issue is "contained" in the respect that schools should not infringe upon the rights of students and parents regarding sex education. Thirdly, the model suggested makes it imperative that schools facilitate the involvement of parents in this issue. Lastly, it is incumbent upon parents and schools to impress upon students/children that they are cared for.

The author made recommendations in the article as to how students may be better served by educational institutions where the consequences of their sexual activities are at issue. When put into the context of sex education, the case law cited bolstered the author's position. However, it could be argued that this article was founded less in the law and more in the personal opinions of the author.

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