Sex education in Chicago public schools will now begin in kindergarten.
This past Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education passed the new policy, which mandates a specific amount of time be spent on sex education in every grade. Kindergartners will learn basic anatomy, reproduction, personal safety and healthy relationships.
Sex ed lessons through the third grade will focus on family, feelings, and appropriate and inappropriate touching. In fourth grade, students will begin learning about puberty and HIV. Fifth to 12th grade will focus on reproduction, transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS, other STDs, bullying, and contraception, including abstinence.
“It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors and relationships,” said CEO of the Chicago Public School System Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.”
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For the first time, sex ed in Chicago schools will discuss sexual orientation and gender identity. The school board says that introducing students to terms associated with sexual identity should promote tolerance and stem bullying.
"I just don't think it's appropriate," mother Melissa Diebold told MyFoxChicago.com. "I don't think it's age appropriate. They have no concept of anything like that at that stage in life."
Parents or guardians of students can opt out of the sexual health program, if they choose to do so.
The Chicago Public Schools Office of Student Health and Wellness said the policy brings the Chicago public school system into alignment with the standards in President Obama’s national HIV/AIDS strategy. With 431,000 students, Chicago has the nation’s third-largest public school system.
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Source: ABC News