Focus on the Family

Sex Education: Find Out What's Being Taught in Your Child's Classroom

by Chad Hills

Have your children been introduced to explicit "sex education" in a public-school classroom?

More often than not, parents learn of their child's exposure to objectionable sexual content in the classroom after the fact. This is a troubling circumstance parents should attempt to address before it happens.

Unfortunately, groups such as Planned Parenthood zealously offer to come into public schools and teach "comprehensive- sex education," which surveys find is contrary to what most families want their children to learn about sex.  Planned Parenthood and like-minded groups teach children an "anything goes" approach to human sexuality, which is most often devoid of values, morals and context. These groups categorize most sexual activities – including outside of marriage – as "acceptable," as long as it’s pleasurable to all people involved.

These teachings go directly against the desires of the majority of parents who want – and who likely teach – their children to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. What’s more, such classes often exclude parents who remain one of the greatest influences in adolescent decision-making.  A sex-education curriculum that leaves parents in the dark—and violates God’s context for sex—puts children at risk: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

These days, you cannot simply assume public school sex-education classes will be appropriate for your children or teens and their well-being. Knowing this, Focus on the Family seeks to equip parents to protect their children within the public school system. For more information, look for the next articles in this series.


This article is a 2013 extension of the article originally posted on ThrivingFamily.com in 2012.


Sex Education: Where Do I Start Looking for What's Being Taught?

Do you ever wonder what is being taught to your children during sex education in the classroom? Let Focus on the Family help you find out.

by Chad Hills

First, start by looking at what your state requires schools to teach regarding sex education. Note whether the school requires parents to "opt-in" (meaning your children can't receive sexuality instruction without your written permission) or "opt-out" (meaning you can remove your child from class, by submitting a request) of sex education classes and if adequate parental notification occurs.

Next, learn about your specific district's policy on sex education by visiting your district's website.

Once you are educated on state and district requirements, you can confidently speak with your school's administrator or committee members, who oversee the selection of sex-education materials.

Don't Be Afraid To Ask

Now that you know what your state and district require for sex education in public schools, the next step is to contact your child's school and ask to speak with the Principal. He or she will know who oversees the sex-education process and can put you in contact with that person or committee member. Since Christians are called to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16) in this world, it's important display your desire to work with this person, not against them. So ask questions with a friendly, courteous demeanor and maintain a kind, considerate, civil and professional tone.

Questions to ask:

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This article is a 2013 extension of the article originally posted on ThrivingFamily.com in 2012.


Sex Education: Resources for Approaching School Officials

Do you ever wonder what is being taught to your children during sex education in the classroom? Let Focus on the Family help you find out.

by Chad Hills

Find more helpful tips on how to effectively approach school officials by reading Sex Ed: Is Your School Respecting Your Family's Values? on the Thriving Family website.

Dr. Miriam Grossman, M.D., is an internationally renowned child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, who writes and speaks about the dangerous misinformation given to children in public schools  specifically during sex-education classes. The North Carolina Family Policy Council interviewed Dr. Grossman on this issue. You can listen to the two-part radio interviews with Dr. Grossman here: The Truth About Sex Ed (Part 1) and The Truth About Sex Ed (Part 2).

Dr. Grossman also outlines her concerns with today's sex education in her book, You're Teaching My Child What? The Truth About Sex Education, which is an excellent resource for every parent. She further summarizes her book in an article on The Heritage Foundation's website.  

If possible, encourage your school officials to work with parents in supporting the healthiest possible standard for student sexual behavior: Sexual risk avoidance (SRA) abstinence. And, show your school the evidence that abstinence-education programs are working. Focus on the Family encourages parents to view online or print a copy of Abstinence Works 2013, which is produced by the National Abstinence Education Association. Use talking points for abstinence education to help fortify the case your support of abstinence, and learn more about what you can do to change a public school's sex-education policy.

Do you need help explaining your concerns to school officials about today's culture and the overemphasis on sex, particularly with girls and women? Listen to the two-part Focus on the Family Broadcast with popular author and guest, Dannah Gresh:

Dr. Freda McKissic Bush offers her advice on Talking Abstinence With Your Teen, which might be helpful, as you consider what's appropriate for classroom teachings, or how to talk to your teen about sex and why pursuing abstinence until marriage is the healthiest choice  and it's in the school's best interest.

What our children are taught about sexuality during school is important. Trying to work with schools to uphold the highest and healthiest sexual-health standards can often be a tough job. We hope you'll let Focus on the Family help you with useful resources and sage advice from trusted experts in the area of abstinence-centered sex education.

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This article is a 2013 extension of the article originally posted on ThrivingFamily.com in 2012.


Bad Sex Ed in Your School? What Parents Can Do.

Are you frustrated with your public school’s sex-education policies and teachings? We can help.

by Chad Hills
  1. PRAY for wisdom and strength before you act.
  2. YOU are the primary teacher of — and greatest influence on — your own children regarding sex, not the school. Nobody else can impart your family's sexual values, beliefs and expectations. Your communication about sex is essential to the health of your child. Schools should promote — not discourage — parent-child communication.
  3. TEACH your children about God's design for sex and why it's best kept within the context of marriage (FocusOnTheFamily.com and PureIntimacy.org).
  4. INVESTIGATE what kind of sex education is offered by your public school. Review it, and get involved. Who promotes it? Is Planned Parenthood in support of it? If it's not upholding the highest expected standard — abstinence — what is the curriculum expecting from your children? The Center for Relationship Education has worked with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to develop nine points by which to evaluate risk-avoidance (abstinence-centered) curriculum. Visit MyRelationshipCenter.org ask for the SMARTool. This has been approved by the CDC and can be used by parents and schools to approve or disapprove risk-avoidance curriculum.
  5. NETWORK with like-minded parents and family organizations (Email, call, host parent meetings, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, etc.). Form a core group of parents, businesses, churches and other organizations that care and are concerned.
  6. FAMILIARIZE yourself with the facts surrounding the grassroots political process and your rights, and vote in every election.
  7. MOBILIZE your community to take action. If your school is handing out condoms and teaching "anything-goes" sex ed, the people who care in your community need to act. Always remain civil, but don't compromise your values or your stance. Start by writing a community sign-on letter (give a copy of the letter to all the local media groups after you give it to the school, and ask them to print or post it). Several days later, call the school board and ask for a public meeting (inform the media). If the school board refuses to meet and discuss with parents, then organize a protest march and public forum in front of the school and definitely alert the media. Contact your U.S. representatives and senators and ask for their help. If all else fails, collect a pool of funds and consult with a reputable, professional pro-family organization in the legal field, such as the Alliance Defense Fund (TellADF.org).
  8. TEAMWORK is essential, or you will burn out. Keep focused, keep pushing for what's right. Never give up.

National Survey: Parents Support Sexual-Risk Avoidance

A national survey shows that most parents want their children to remain abstinent until they are married. Are schools and government listening?

by Chad Hills

A newly released national survey of parents shows nearly 8 of 10 Democrats and 9 of 10 Republicans support abstinence education.

"If sex education were on the November ballot, abstinence education would win by a landslide, and not just among Republicans," said Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Foundation (NAEF), which commissioned the survey.

Conservative perspectives toward teen sexual behavior have been falsely portrayed as strictly Republican views. But this new survey, the "Parents Speak Out Report," conducted by Pulse Opinion Research and the NAEF, shows this as a consistent value among the majority of parents. Whether parents are Republican, Democrat, conservative or liberal, parents support the highest standard of sexual risk avoidance for their children.

The fallacy of comprehensive, contraceptive-based sex education as an effective strategy is being challenged. Conversely, sexual risk avoidanceor orienting the behavior of teens toward the healthiest sexual standardsis becoming the new, most efficacious strategy.

This new survey reflects parents' concern for their children, and their children's future, in the area of sexual behavior. Instead of continuing to pour millions of dollars into the failed policy of treating the symptoms of high-risk teen sexual behavior, parents are looking toward the root of the problem, which is preventing teen sexual activity. This survey indicates that Democrats and Republicans can agree: Preserving the sexual health of their children is a policy priority. Members of Congress are beginning to embrace sexual risk avoidance as a superior strategy, as well.

Furthermore, a previous study, released in 2011, also found that parents want to be the primary educators of their children when it comes to sexuality. This was preceded by findings from another study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which was finally released to the public after prolonged pressure from CitizenLink, citizen activists and other groups.

Decades of failed policy to address teen sexual activity effectively requires the attention of parents, educators and policymakers. It's time for a new strategy. Instead of government and schools undermining the role of parents as primary sex educators, isn't it time that we work togetherto avoid sexual risks and help our future generations succeed?


Additional Resources

by Focus on the Family Issue Analysts

How to talk to your child about sex education: