Monday 2 March 2015

Sex education in school                        

It was when I was nine years old that I was informed as to where babies came from. I didn’t learn it at school. I didn’t learn it at home. I learned it on the street when a kid my age told me how babies came into the world. I didn’t believe him. I still believed in Santa Claus but I sure didn’t believe that kid’s explanation. My mother finally got around to telling me where babies came from when I was twelve. She was too late. I learned the truth of the nine-year-old boy’s explanation when I was ten. By then, I wasn’t interested how the birds and bees did it. By then, I also didn’t believe in Santa Clause. When my wife delivered our two children, I already knew how she got pregnant and now I was actually going to see how babies are born. I was present in the delivery room standing next to her. The only thing I didn’t know was whether or not the babies were going to be girls or boys.  They were girls. As you have correctly surmised, both I and my wife knew how to make her pregnant and what would happen to her as the months progressed.

Many years ago, I read of a fourteen-year-old girl in Russia who got pregnant and didn’t know how that happened. The Russian government announced that it was necessary to teach kids that are even younger about pregnancies. At long last, the government of the Province of Ontario in Canada has finally seen the light for it too realizes that young kids should be given lessons about sex.

Now there are prudes in every community and Canada has no shortage of them. They sob and whine and say, “Oh, the elementary kids are too young to learn about things like that.” Can you believe it, when I went to school; no teacher taught us anything about sex, not even when I was in high school. There are three possible reasons for this omission. One. By the time we were in high school, they figured that we already knew about sex. They were right. Two. They figured that our parents had already explained sex to us. They were wrong. Three. They were afraid that there would be a backlash from out parents. They were probably be right.                                   

Now the province of Ontario plans to give lessons in schools about sex beginning with six-year-olds. Perk up your ears. Can you hear it? The screaming and wailing of prudes yelling, “Oh God, not six year-olds.” and “What is this world coming too?”  The schools are going to tell the six-year-old kids something about sex that some prudish parents are too embarrassed to tell them.

No. the first lessons in grade one are not going to be about how to masturbate although it is conceivable that some of these six-year-olds know how to do it anyway.

Grade one students will be taught the following—identifying body parts, including genitalia like the penis, testicles, vagina, vulva, and use the correct terminology.

I can just see it now. Some kid is going to say out loud, “My dad has other names for those things.” And before the kid starts spouting out what they are, the teacher will hush the kid up by saying, “We don’t use words like that in proper company. She must be awful naïve.  

Grade two students will be taught the following—such as outlining the basic stages of human development, including an infant, child, adolescent, adult, older adult and related bodily changes. They will also identify factors that are important for healthy growth.  

If children who are seven live in homes that have large families, believe me, they will recognize the differences unless of course they are retarded.  I like the premise that they be taught what the factors are about growing healthy. The trouble is that some parents should also be taught that lesson because they too eat too much fat and sugar and less vegetables and as a direct result, their little acorns are no different than the trees that spawned them—fat and unhealthy.

Grade three students will be taught the following—to be able to describe visible differences such as facial features, body size and shape, physical aids or different physical abilities along with invisible differences like learning abilities, personal or cultural values and beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation all of which makes each person unique. Students will also learn ways of showing respect for the differences in others.

Those lessons are great however we must not forget that there are parents who are bigots and their bigotry may undue the valuable lessons taught to those grade three students.

Grade four students will be taught the following—the physical changes that happen during puberty for males and females, the growth of body hair, breast development, changes in voice and body size, production of body odor, and skin changes such as acne. They will also learn about the potential emotional and social impact of these changes.

My voice didn’t change until I was 18. That was because I accidentally swallowed a handful of Lye (caustic soda) at age six. I thought it was icing sugar. There is truth in that old adage that things are not always what they appear to be. My vocal chords were severely damaged. I sung soprano in the church choir until I was 18 when my voice finally broke. I also suffered from impetigo on my cheek when I was seventeen and eighteen. I was finally cured of it when I was in the Canadian Navy after daily treatments from ultra-violet lamps. Fortunately for me, no one teased me about these two problems I had. 

Grade five students will be taught the following—they will identify the parts of the reproductive system, and described how the human body changes during puberty. They will expand their vocabulary with words like cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, endometrium, and clitoris, as well as scrotum, urethra, testicles, prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens.       

Grade six students will be taught the following—assessing the effects of stereotypes including homophobia and assumptions regarding gender roles and expectations, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity or culture, mental health, and abilities. They will also learn appropriate ways of responding to and changing some of these stereotypes.

Grade seven students will be taught the following—such as the importance of consent and the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about delaying sexual activity.  They will have an understanding of genital contact such as vaginal and anal intercourse and oral sex including their right to choosing to abstain from these activities.

Grade eight students will be taught the following—five kinds of genders such as male, female, transgender, transsexual and intersexual. They also will also cover in greater detail topics of sexual orientation such as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and when it comes to sex, they will also learn about contraception and condom use for pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) prevention, consent, and what it means to be in a healthy sexual relationship. 

Grade nine students will be taught the following—how to prevent unintended pregnancy or STIs, including HIV/AIDS. They will have a further understanding of gender identities and issues around stigma, culture, religion, media, stereotypes, homophobia and self-image.        

Grade ten students will be taught the following—to be able to describe factors that influence sexual decision making, including personal values, having limits, peer and family expectations, and myths and norms related to sexual activity or safe sex. Students will demonstrate an understanding of how to use decision-making and communication skills effectively to support choices related to sexual health.

Grade eleven students will be taught the following—such as understanding a variety of mental illnesses and addictions including: eating disorders; major depression; anxiety disorders; psychotic disorders, and tobacco, alcohol, drug, gambling, gaming, or Internet addictions. They will also cover proactive health measures like breast and testicular examinations, Pap tests, regular medical check-ups and stress management techniques.       

Grade twelve students will be taught the following—a description of cyber-bulling, stalking, sexual assault, abuse within a family, extortion, and workplace harassment. Further discussions on healthy relationships, developing healthy sexual relationships with others, and looking at relationships and stereotypes in the media will also be taught.    

I am not going to describe all the comments of twits who argued that these subjects should be taught at home and not at school. To do so would be a waste of my time and I am sure it would be a time waster for you to read them also.

In my respectful opinion, the people who put this agenda in place did a fine job of it. I believe that if the students attending the schools in Ontario are being taught these subjects, they will graduate as very mature students who have respect for others irrespective of their sexual orientation and will take greater care of themselves by taking the necessary steps to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections. Further, it may also reduce to some degree, cyber bullying. I am convinced that to some degree it will also reduce sexual attacks.

Of course, there will be students who will leave school before they get all the courses. What thing I am absolutely sure of is that if some girls leave school before they finish grade twelve and they become pregnant, they won’t be saying to their moms, “Really Mom. I don’t know how that baby got inside of my belly.”  

UPDATE:  (September 1, 2015) The Ontario government has put sex education in the schools of Ontario. Grade 3 students will learn about same sex relationships. Grade 4 and up will learn more about the dangers of online bullying while the perils of sexting will come later.  At grade 6 they will learn about gender expression and masturbation, At grade 7, they will learn about abstaining from or delaying sexual activities to avoid sexually transmitted infections.  

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