Did you hear about New York City’s comprehensive drug education program for all students in middle school and high school? The teachers inform the students that abstaining from drug use is best, but since it’s impossible to stop them from doing drugs, the teachers give out cards that list the most common drugs, explaining which are the most dangerous. They also distribute needles to kids who are involved in shooting drugs to help them avoid getting contaminated needles, thereby reducing their chances of contracting or passing on communicable diseases.
You haven’t heard about this? It sounds almost criminal to you? Well, the truth be told, I made it all up, but I did so to illustrate a point, namely, that much of the current sex-ed curricula in our schools borders on being criminal and, in many ways, it is just as irresponsible as my fictitious scenario.
Consider what’s happening in some of our nation’s schools.
In October of this year, New York City announced an aggressive, comprehensive, and quite graphic curriculum that would consist of one full semester of sex education in 6th or 7th grade (meaning, beginning with kids as young as 11) and again in 9th and 10th grade. Yet the age of consent in New York is 17.
This means that these schools (along with thousands of other schools throughout the nation) are giving kids practical instructions on having sex even though it is illegal for them to do so. (If my suggested drug analogy doesn’t work for you, then think in terms of the schools teaching 12 year-olds about responsible drinking of alcohol, since later in life, it will be legal for them but to do so at their current age is currently illegal.)
It can even be argued that, on some level, these schools fail to do everything in their power to prevent statutory rape, since in New York, it is “second-degree rape for anyone age 18 or older to engage in sexual intercourse with someone under age 15,” and that is certainly what is happening with many of these kids. Either way, the activities are illicit, be they consensual acts between 13 year-olds or consensual acts between an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old.
How, then, can the schools teach anything other than abstinence? Why are they teaching our children about “safe sex”?
A New York health department report in 2005 revealed that 1 in 10 kids reported having sex before the age of 13. As shocking as that statistic is, it also means that 90% of these kids did not have sex before that age. Why introduce them to all these sexually-charged (and often sexually titillating issues)?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.