Will Blocking Sex Ed In Schools Help Anyone?


Joey Guidone

Sex education for students with disabilities

Julia Key, Editor

Erasing LGBTQ+ education is nothing new to American politics, but Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson wants to take it a step further. Johnson just proposed a new bill entitled “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act” to congress, and it seems many of his ideas are skewed. 

This bill aims to stop discussion of gender and sexuality for children under 10. It also blatantly lies about what is being taught to children in K-5, largely stretching the truth to make health education seem corrupt and inappropriate.

Louisiana, where Rep. Johnson actually has quite strict laws on sex education. Louisiana does not require sex ed at any grade level, but it can be taught from grades 7-12. The state encourages teaching abstinence as well as forbidding the discussion of sexual orientation, or “materials depicting male or female homosexuality.” So what is Johnson so worried about? 

 He may have been nervous to hear about Illinois implementing a more comprehensive sex education curriculum throughout the state. Many republican lawmakers seem to believe that democrats are trying to groom children through more comprehensive sex ed, but the topics in the recently implemented, more socially aware curriculums are doing the exact opposite. 

This is happening all over America, and even recently Montana passed a new legislature on sexuality education entitled SB-99. This bill is less intense than Rep. Johnsons but it will still give way to blocking many students from receiving sex education. 

This bill requires schools to notify parents of any human sexuality instruction before it is taught, and gives the parent the right to opt their child out of it. This type of legislature further shields students from the topic of sexuality, putting them at risk for unwanted pregnancies and STDs. These kids being opted out are the same kids who aren’t being told about safe sex at home, which could lead to many issues when they come to discover sexuality for themselves. 

This bill also blocks using any instruction material created by abortion providers. This means schools wouldn’t be able to use educational materials (yes, all material, not just abortion) created by organizations like Planned Parenthood, which is currently the nation’s largest provider of sex education resources. 

SB-99 has also changed the definition of Human Sexuality Instruction to make it much larger and target LGBTQ+ oriented topics. This bill will affect many parts of schooling, not only our health classes. 

You can’t discuss this topic without discussing the agendas of the political parties fighting it. On the left leaning side there is a more care and respect oriented approach, and in the right leaning communities there is an attempt at shielding students from needed topics.

When researching this I had a hard time fully agreeing with either side, I think that there is a sweet spot that neither side is considering. 

The left’s solution is to get more comprehensive, to try and teach every aspect of human sexuality and gender expression. This to me is not the worst idea, teaching tolerance and respect is at the core of these values, but are they really the most necessary ideals in health education for kids under 10?

On the other hand, completely shielding elementary aged kids from the real world topics of gender and sexuality is only going to hurt them in the long run. These ideals completely erase kids with queer parents, and students who are starting to discover their own gender and sexuality. 

After reading over many K-5 health education curriculums the most important topics I saw had nothing to do with gender or human sexuality. The topics of boundaries, consent, emotional wellness, physical wellness, and for older kids puberty and growing bodies. A few of these important topics could disappear if this bill is passed though.

Both parties are pushing many of their political views through the discussion of health and sex education, and not focussing on what is best for these kids to be learning. As a student I feel unseen by the fighting over what I should or shouldn’t be learning. Political leaders are sitting around arguing about what’s best for students while barely acknowledging our existence.

Instead of focusing on political ideals, we should be focusing on our students growing up to be happy and healthy, which does include the discussion of gender and sexuality, but it also includes tons of other topics.