I taught high school biology in 1977, and that included a short course in human reproductive biology. It was an elective course and 45 students crowded into my classroom.
One day, the first student into the classroom told me "I have to take really good notes. Every day when I get home, my mom asks me what I learned in this class."
To teach is to learn twice, and she was likely to remember what she learned a lot longer.
Today, 38 years later, there is a whole lot more to learn. Unless parents are medical endocrinologists, they are unlikely to be able to explain what we now understand about variations in anatomy, hormones and brain development.
"Sex ed" is not just about the "birds-and-the-bees"...anymore.
Unfortunately, two bills have reappeared in our state Legislature to shut down sex education in Kansas.
House Bill 2199 requires the distribution of "all instructional materials" to parents beforehand and requires "opt-in" permission to attend the classes. If it is taught, Kansas already requires schools to offer sex ed as either opt-in or opt-out. Parents who want to opt their child out of sex education already have that right. But mandating opt-in also excludes those children whose parents did not submit the permission form. When the number of students who must be accommodated with alternative lessons is more than a few, a teacher will have to abandon sex education lessons or double-teach.
Simply put, opt-in sex education translates into no sex education. -And the end of local control.
A second proposal, Senate Bill 56, will end sex education in Kansas by removing the K-12 teacher exemption for obscenity.
Currently two professions have exemption under Kansas law: doctors and teachers. Graphics that would be considered obscene if posted on main street are clearly not obscene and are indeed critical within the context of the doctor’s office or the teacher’s classroom. Senate Bill 56 removes the K-12 teacher’s ability to use such graphics and generates the fear of prosecution in teachers and school officials for using any sexual material when teaching any student under the age of 18.
In this age of unlimited social media, young students are now flooded with pornography and misinformation at a younger age than ever before.
The need for accurate and respectful knowledge about human sexuality has never been greater.
Kansas has faced three attempts to curtail sex education since 2003...And all of these attempts were wisely rejected.
Indeed, Kansas was the third state to implement sex education in 1987.
Kansas has been a state that has faith in its students to learn, to grow up, and to make mature decisions.
Our state bird is not the stork. And our state plant is not the fig leaf. Come on, Kansas. We can do better than this.