What age is too young to learn about sex? That’s the question many Chicago parents will be asking soon if a new proposal offered by the Chicago Public Schools is passed. As it stands, students enrolled in the Chicago Public Schools start receiving sex education in the fifth grade, the new proposal would start in kindergarten or age 5. The proposed policy follows the “national sexuality education standards” put together by four health organizations. Under the new program, the district would address sexual orientation and bullying for the first time.
The school board based this decision on the fact that more than half of its high school students are having sex and Cook County ranks No. 1 in the country for sexually transmitted diseases.
According to the latest figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the United States every single year, and Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 account for approximately 50 percent of those new infections. In 20011, there were more than 1.4 million cases of chlamydia reported in the United State, of which 33 percent of those cases involved Americans that were younger than 20 years of age.
According to recent data, 1 out of every 4 teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease and according to one survey, 24 percent of all U.S. teens that have an STD say that they still have unprotected sex. The U.S. has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world.
Parents who are uncomfortable with the new policy will be able opt out and CPS says the curriculum will conform to each age group. The curriculum for early grades would include instruction about appropriate and inappropriate touching. In the fourth grade, children would be taught about puberty and the HIV virus. In the fifth grade, topics to be covered will include reproduction, contraception, and how to reduce the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
In nations such as Holland, sex education starts at age 4.