What is the purpose of the school system? Is it not there to give our children the knowledge and skills to become productive adults? I should hope so. But when it comes to sex education my memory of the subject seems to be restricted to the basic biology and maybe some stuff on STDs (sexually transmitted diseases – called venereal diseases or VD in my day) and contraception. The most titillating thing I saw was that of a condom being applied to a phallic object. I think it was a banana. I seem to remember that there was one pregnant girl attending high school.

But this was over 30 years ago. I don’t go to school anymore, at least not at that level, but I’ve heard that teenage pregnancies are rampant and so is HIV in that age group. This tells me that sex education is certainly not doing the job for these kids let alone preparing them for adulthood. We have to give them the tools for life and we can’t be squeamish about it.

I haven’t even touched the subjects of homophobia and transphobia which is a whole other kettle of fish. What about these subjects? I don’t know what the numbers are like in Canada but studies in the US are finding that more and more people are accepting of same-sex marriages. I’m hoping that means there is a greater tolerance for these groups of people who are different from the majority. And for that I thank the media.

But I’m not sure that the media is the place for education, at least not for our children. Just take a look at the advertisements found in magazines and on television. They picture women, for the most part, who are all young, slim, or perfect and this image is usually unattainable for most girls. But they try, usually with disastrous consequences with anorexia nervosa being at the top of the list.

And the topic of sex education is a mind field (pun intended). It’s a subject that includes more than the basic mechanics but includes respect and a responsibility for the possible outcome. In the case for STDs there are only two ways to prevent their spread – abstinence and condoms. Abstinence is a perfect way to stop this spread but it’s very hard to do if you’re a teenager fully charged with hormones. Condoms aren’t perfect either.

The point I’m trying to make is that sex education has to get more detailed, it has to get into the subjects that make parents cringe and it has to be relevant to the times. It has to include subjects like homosexuality and transgenderism. School has to prepare these children for life and adulthood. If you’re a parent and believe some of these subjects should be taught at home and not at school then start doing it. The evidence is that that you’re not and it has to be done somewhere.



‘Boost sex ed in Swedish schools’: minister