Friday, September 24, 2004

Who Should Teach Your Teens About Sex?

With kids as young as 11 deciding to have sex, it’s more crucial than ever that children and teens receive proper sex education early on. In fact, research shows that one in 12 kids is no longer a virgin by his or her 13th birthday. Kids also need to become familiar with the risks and emotional effects that accompany becoming sexually active. The question is – whose place is it to talk to youth about sex: parents or schools?

The Windham Public School District In Connecticut recently came under fire for a controversial policy which provides contraceptives for children 13 and older with a signed permission slip from a parent. Sue Collins, the head of the school’s health center and creator of the policy, defended her stance to Larry, saying that it is inevitable that some teens will opt to have sex and that it’s important they be prepared.

Sue also introduced 15-year-old Kelsey, a student at the high school, and her mother Debra, who is an avid proponent of the new policy. Though Debra takes her role as a parent seriously when it comes to talking about sex, she also believes the school has an equal responsibility since it offers the services of trained professionals through the health center.

Areli is another mother whose 10-year-old child, Victor, is about to enter middle school in the Windham district. Unlike Sue, Areli does not support the policy and feels her son is too young to be exposed to contraceptives and graphic sexual information. Larry sided with Areli, saying that by providing condoms to young children, the school is sending a message that they expect students will have sex rather than choosing abstinence.

What would you do if your daughter came home from school and said that she had been asked to put a condom in her mouth during class? Lisa found herself in that very predicament with her 15-year-old daughter Tasha, who was chided by her sex education teacher to “have a little fun” and taste a flavored condom. Outraged, Lisa complained to the school’s principal, who sided with the teacher – prompting Lisa to contact the media. Lisa says that she is very open with her daughter about sex and supports her decisions, but she believes the school was out of line and needs to take a more traditional approach to sex education.


As the mother of seven children who are all virgins, Sharon Scioli says it is possible to raise kids who believe in abstinence. Sharon believes that sex education should take place in the home, not in school. Her teen daughters Theresa, Vanessa and Angela joined her to talk about their beliefs and why they have chosen to attend private schools that preach abstinence. The girls say that it is not difficult to date and maintain their virginity, despite the widespread belief that the majority of teens are sexually active.

Quick Clicks

Sound off: Who do you think should teach teens about sex? Click here to talk about it in our Show Talk forum.

Check out today’s Advice Archive article for parents:
Talking with Kids About Sex

Check out today’s Advice Archive article for teens:
How Do I Know If I’m Ready to Have Sex?