This woman tried, and was turned away. While I’m sympathetic to her cause — she didn’t want her child being misinformed by fact-deficient abstinence-only education — I think that as a general rule, it’s not a good idea to have parents in sex ed classes. In Washington state, sexual health educators are required to present their curriculum to interested parents prior to teaching it in the classroom; when I was an HIV/AIDS educator in high school, we had an annual evening meeting where we went over our entire lesson with parents who then gave us feedback or chose to sign their child out of class. So there is a state law here allowing parents to see what their kids are being taught. That’s important. But putting parents in a classroom where sensitive topics like sexuality are being discussed changes the dynamic of the room, and inhibits the free flow of conversation and question-asking. Kids aren’t going to want to ask certain questions if their best friend’s mom or dad (or their own parent) is sitting five feet away, listening to every word. So while parents rights are important, there needs to be a balance — and in my opinion, placing parents in the classroom during sex ed is intimidating and limiting, and not condusive to the kind of open environment necessary for that kind of curriculum. Thoughts?
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