The world is changing so quickly. Many children are exposed to a barrage of information about gender and relationships and how they are supposed to act and not act. Unfortunately too much of it is confusing and unhelpful. We need good comprehensive information about issues like safety, choice and more. In the wake of recent sexual harassment scandals, especially in academic spaces, many schools and communities are examining how they talk about consent and healthy relationships. A health class is the perfect environment for those conversations, and now is the time to make sure sex education is taught sensitively, thoughtfully, and comprehensively in every school in our country.
Recently, I happened to see a video related to present day sex ed in schools, which was depicted in a funny manner. The teacher couldn’t deliver the correct idea to the students. It was largely beating around the bush. But the students are discussing those matters among themselves. The point to ponder about is this: where is the source of information, whether reliable or not. Today, despite great advancements in the field of science, implementation of a truly modern, equitable, evidence-based model of comprehensive sex ed remains precluded by socio-cultural and political systems that are barriers operating in profound ways across multiple levels of an adolescent’s environments.
The sex ed system followed in US is good enough to be followed in India.We need to establish sex ed at every level. It would begin in elementary school, where it covers topics such as touching and puberty. In middle school, we can use a ” Healthy Me. Healthy Us!” curriculum, which currently runs in San Francisco’s Unified School Districts (SFUSD). It addresses topics such as birth control, sexual harassment, personal boundaries, and LGBTQ issues.
A popular high school “Be real. Be Ready” curriculum (also by the SFUSD) can be included focusing on ways of providing students shame-free and non-judgmental spaces to talk. It can offer developmentally appropriate information about health, sexuality and relationships at every stage of their lives.
We need to give students the opportunity to lead themselves forward, and really listen to them and hear their concerns. Let students have a good idea of what is needed and seek honest information in a safe atmosphere.