A new policy will mandate that Chicago schools begin sex education in kindergarten. While most public schools being their sex-ed classes in fifth grade, the Chicago Board of Educators passed their new policy on Wednesday.
The new policy mandates that every class spend a certain amount of time on sex education — beginning in kindergarten. The 431,000 students in the Chicago school system — the third-largest in the country — will learn the basic of anatomy, reproduction, healthy relationships, and personal safety.
The school system’s new policy will take place over the next two years and completely overhaul the current sex education system.
“It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors and relationships,” Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of the Chicago Public School System, said in a statement. “By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.”
Not only will sex-ed begin at a younger age, new information will be included. For the first time in Chicago, sex-ed instructors will discuss sexual orientation and gender identity. The school board has stated that, in an effort to bring awareness and build tolerance, students will learn the definitions of sexual identity. The discussions will include definitions related to heterosexual and LGBT populations.
By third grade, students will focus on family, feelings, and appropriate and inappropriate touching. The fourth grade will introduce puberty and discussions on HIV. From fifth through 12th grade, the emphasis will be on reproduction and the transmission and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and illnesses. Classes will also cover topics such as bullying, contraception, and abstinence.
Parents or guardians of students can opt out of the sexual health education program.
Do you think that kindergarten is too young to begin sex-ed classes?
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