New Mexico: Parents Sound Off on Kids' Sex Education Classes
May 9, 2003
According to the results of a new survey, most New Mexico parents strongly approve of sex education messages about abstinence, but their disapproval of sex education programs goes up as the material becomes more explicit. The parents want their children to know about condoms -- but they do not want schools to show students how they are used. And the majority of parents would like to review sex education materials before they are used in class.Adapted from:
New Mexico GRADS, a state Human Services Department-funded program that works with teens and their parents, funded the 29-question survey; it was conducted by Utica, N.Y.-based Zogby International, which interviewed 607 parents in the state. Sharon Waggoner, state director of GRADS, said teachers need to know what parents are comfortable with in order for sex education to be successful.
Seventy percent of surveyed parents believe their children should be taught that sexual or physical intimacy "should occur between two people involved in a lifelong, mutual faithful marriage commitment." Of responding parents, 61 percent approved of teaching adolescents about condoms and other contraceptives; 14 percent were neutral; and 24 percent disapproved. However, 73 percent disapproved of having middle school students unroll a condom and put it on another person's fingers, a banana or a wooden model of a penis, while 15 percent approved and the rest were neutral. Seventy-one percent disapproved of telling 5- to 8-year-olds that "boys and girls have body parts that feel good when touched," and 75 percent disapproved of telling children what masturbation is.
Based on the survey's results, Waggoner's organization recommends that schools blend curricula but emphasize abstinence; make materials available at libraries for parental review; and form parental advisory committees on sex education.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.