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National News

Explicit Sex Education Is Opposed by Most Parents in Survey

February 18, 2003

Most parents want schools to teach their children the ABC's of sex education, but disapprove of the more explicit guidance commonly used in sex education classes, according to a survey released Wednesday by a coalition of conservative Christian groups. The survey, conducted by Zogby International, polled 1,245 adults, most of them with school-age children. An unidentified private donor financed the poll, said the coalition, which included the Christian Coalition of America, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women of America and the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.

The survey found most parents approved of children being taught about using condoms and contraceptives to avoid pregnancy and disease. Parents were evenly divided on teaching youngsters the biology of reproduction. But parents did not want them being taught about masturbation, sexual fantasies and homosexuality, and did not want middle schools to teach children how to unroll condoms -- subjects covered in guidelines developed in 1991 by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, the American Medical Association and other organizations. The guidelines also describe homosexuality, cohabitation and conflicts between religion and sexuality in neutral terms.

"When you ask parents in a vague, euphemistic way about comprehensive sex education, they will respond one way," said Peter Brandt, director of issue response at Focus on the Family. "As we get more specific in terms of what children are actually taught, though, parents are more opposed."

Comprehensive sex education advocates attacked the survey, saying it quoted the guidelines as if they were a curriculum, rather than suggestions that school districts typically adapt to local conditions. The survey comes as advocates of comprehensive sex education and abstinence-only advocates square off in anticipation of Congressional debates on how much money to give abstinence programs.

Back to other CDC news for February 18, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
New York Times
02.13.03; Diana Jean Schemo



  
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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.
 

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