Wednesday, February 24, 2016

About that Safe Schools program...

Many years ago, I wrote a post complaining that American schools with their gay support clubs were going too far, in the sense that I don't see that teenage sexuality really warrants school based scrutiny or endorsement.   All sensible adults don't really want high school teenagers of any type having sex;  that complete sexuality self understanding is not something that teenagers (in particular) actually need to be certain of seems badly unacknowledged these days; and an emphasis on the right to privacy in terms of sexual feelings should (to my mind) be the priority.   But, as is usual, I find it hard Googling my own blog successfully, so I haven't re-read it for a while.  I think that is how it went.

So now we have some hoo-ha about an anti-bullying program that concentrates on sexuality based bullying.  The idea of an anti bullying program that incorporates sexuality based bullying is fine.   Part of the concern about the Safe School program, though, is that some of the suggested exercises seem a tad too advanced for the age intended.   (The bit about asking 11 year olds to imagine they're 16 and with "someone they're really into".   My recent experience with 2 former eleven year olds is that this would have been like asking them to imagine they're an aardvark - it would have been pretty incomprehensible. )  But as I understand it, educational material like this is not set in concrete - the manual gives suggested exercises that teachers can pick and choose from, as would appear to suit their circumstances.

So part of the complaint appears overblown to me; but it probably does grate somewhat against my views about how sexuality is dealt with not just in schools, but in the media and broader society these days.

Can't an anti-bullying program just emphasise that it's none of  a student's business to care or complain about which gender a fellow student might feel some sexual attraction towards, and that bullying based on that will be sternly dealt with?

But this is not to say that I have any particular problem with school based, quite detailed, sex education material regarding how your basic sex works, and its practical and emotional consequences.  (And contraception, of course.)  After all, the European approach to this does seem to work reasonably well.  And as if teenagers want to hear the details about it from their parents...

1 comment:

S Maliyekal said...

Very valuable article.
Everyone associated with children particularly Teachers and parents should remember this.