Sex Education classes in Illinois will soon get a facelift because of a measure approved by the Senate. Illinois public schools that teach sex education will now be required to provide information about birth control. Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who sponsored the measure, said the measure still would require schools to teach that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and disease, while at the same time allowing “students to make healthy decisions for themselves.”
Current state law dictates that sex education curriculum in grates 6 through 12 “shall emphasize that abstinence is the expected norm” — that not engaging in sex is the only option 100 percent effective against unwanted pregnancies and disease and that “course material and instruction shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage.”
Schools have the option of teaching abstinence-only sex education, a comprehensive curriculum of abstinence and safe sex procedures, and simply not teaching sex education courses. State education officials said they don’t have specific tallies but estimated that the breakdown is divided evenly among the three options.
The pending legislation still affords schools the option of not teaching sex education at all. The proposal also would allow parents to examine the instructional materials to be used in class, and parents could opt to keep their children out of sex education classes without penalty.
Supporters of the measure believed that abstinence only education wasn’t effective, but opponents feel abstinence-only education should be the norm, and it’s the parents responsibility to arm their children with knowledge about sex.
What’s your opinion? Should birth control be a subject of discussion in Sex Ed classes?