As I think about the work and the process involved in developing the new health education curriculum and the sex education part of that curriculum for the Helena School District, I am impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of those who have been involved. By using health care and educational professionals, the school district has drawn on their expertise, and by doing this over a two-year period, they have given much time and thought to the process.
All of us are sexual beings, and it is healthy for us to be well informed and comfortable with our sexuality. Our culture “sexualizes” many things but that often masks misinformation, as kids and adults pretend to be cool or knowledgeable. By providing age-appropriate information, the school district will be providing a service to all students and to the community. Parents can then have further discussions about the information provided and can have a discussion of their own values directly with their children.
As it is now, few are well informed and many are misinformed. The misinformation spreads from peer to peer and that does not serve the purpose of good health. The aim should be to become comfortable with your body and knowledgeable about its functions as one develops. I often feel that those who are most strident in their opposition to basic sex education, and who are threatened by the thought of sex ed, are people who might themselves have benefited from an earlier and more honest sex education.
I applaud the curriculum committee, the school district and the school board as they step forward to do the right thing, which is to provide comprehensive health education and sex education to the students of Helena. We do not want our society to be ruled by those who shout the loudest, do the most name calling or send the most nasty e-mails. Nor should schools succumb to the very ignorance they are trying to dispel. I hope that the school board will stand firm on this issue and support the fine work which has been done.