There is growing debate in the Helena, Montana school district over plans to include Human Sexuality education as part of the health curriculum in grades K-12. Emotions are running high as parents are vehemently objecting to this plan and educators seem intent on implementing it.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it just so happens that, in this case, all the data demonstrate that the parents are, indeed, correct to oppose these programs.
To understand the problem with these classroom programs, we need to review the three stages of the human sexual maturation process.
The first phase of this development starts at birth and continues until a child is approximately 5-years-old. The fact that I say “approximately” points out one of the major influences in this entire discussion. No two children mature exactly the same. Each takes his or her own time.
Because children mature at widely differing rates, one child may be ready for a great deal of information at 11-years-old or earlier, while another child, even in the same family, might not be ready for the same information until he or she is 14-years-old or older.
The first phase of development is characterized by children being interested in a number of things, including body parts. It is a time when children find their eyes and ears and elbows and genitals. All of this is normal and the child normally passes out of this stage at around five years of age.
The second phase of human sexual maturation begins at about the age of six and lasts until puberty. Once again, the exact timing will differ by child.
During this second phase, the child’s sexual thoughts and actions are naturally suppressed. Popes in the Catholic Church have referred to this period as the “age of innocence,” while scientists call it the “sexual latency period.”
Most educators will tell you that this is the age when children are most able to be educated. They are like a sponge, soaking up math and science and languages and anything else that piques their interest. They want to know why the sky is blue; why the grass is green; how do airplanes fly; and a host of other things. They do not want to know about sex. At this stage in their lives, it is just not important to them.
Then, at puberty, they enter the third phase of development and their sexual interest reemerges. Now, they do become interested in all things sexual. However, there is a significant difference.
Boys primarily have a physical sex drive. They are generally interested in having physical sex.
Girls, on the other hand, are interested in romance. Their sex drive is normally centered around the heart and around love.
In his 1985 treatise, "A Psychoanalytic Look at Today’s Sex Education," Melvin Anchell, M.D., A.S.P.P. points out that:
…there are many cultural and personal achievements attained through the redirection of sexual energies during latency, but the most important achievement of all is the development of the capacity for compassion. It is this ability to feel compassion that truly separates man from all other creatures.
The second most important achievement resulting from the redirection of sexual energies during latency is the strengthening of mental barriers that control perverse sexual impulses … These mental barriers are inborn and are present at birth. However, to be effective in later life, they must be strengthened during latency.
… The sex teachings given to the 6- to 12-year-old students keep sexual impulses stirred up, disrupting sexual growth, as well as personal and cultural achievements.
A partial summary of adverse effects due to the sex educators' interferences during latency is that they: 1) Make the 6- to 12-year-old student less educable; 2) can block the development of compassion; 3) weaken the mental barriers controlling base sexual instincts, thereby making the child vulnerable to perversions in later life.
In other words, kids who are inundated with human sexuality courses will find their overall academic performance suffering, while they grapple with self-control and compassion issues.
As the Helena school board considers the problems posed by classroom sex education, we ask them to note that school classrooms group children by the same chronological age, but they will each be at varying stages of mental maturity. It is impossible to design a classroom sex education course that is appropriate for all of the children in the class.
Twenty-five years ago Dr. Anchell, warned of what will happen as classroom sex education programs proliferate. Look around at today’s society. We are seeing the results of years of unbridled sex education in the schools.
Let’s not make the matter worse in Helena. Protect the children, say no to these programs.
Jim Sedlak is the Vice President of American Life League and the author of “Parent Power!! How Parents Can Gain Control of the School Systems that Educate their Children.”
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