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:
- Does the school's sex-education program place parents in control of their child's sex education? (See the Parents' Bill of Rights to help your school further understand parental involvement.)
- What core message does the school support: contraceptive-based or abstinence-centered messaging?
- In what grade does sex education start?
- What curriculum is used, and when can you schedule a time to review it?
- Does the school have a parental consent form, allowing your children to either ‘opt-in' or the ability to ‘opt-out' if you object to the material being taught?
- How does the school intentionally involve and include parents in the sex-education program? How can best be involved?
- Who teaches the sex-ed classes and for what grade levels? Is it a group like Planned Parenthood, a Physical-education teacher or a Science teacher? Or, is it someone else, such as a local Planned Parenthood representative? Can you contact them, if you have questions?
- What are this school's policies regarding the expression of sexual activity (e.g., kissing, displays of affection, sexual intercourse or sexual touch) on school property? How, and by whom, are these policies enforced?
- If a child ‘opts out' of a sex-education class, will their grades be negatively impacted?
This article is a 2013 extension of the article originally posted on ThrivingFamily.com in 2012.