The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 10, 2014

Parents need to be aware

The Daily Item

— Sad to read of the uproar over an open discussion in a sex education class at Shikellamy High School, since the point of education should be conducting open discussion. Emotional safety needs to be established when discussing intimate feelings and actions, and one way to do this is to establish honesty, including diffusing the loaded language around sexuality.

Sad, too, is the lack of parental investment in knowing ahead of time that the curriculum of that sexual education class involved being prepared to talk to one’s son or daughter about those slang terms used to describe anatomy and behaviors, since these terms are often the first exposure to sex information and misinformation among youth.

Many a livelihood is cut short by unplanned teen pregnancy, and more critically, a life-expectancy can be tragically shortened by preventable STDs including contracting HIV. Adolescents from 15 to 19 are in the highest risk group. And sadly, too, only 5 percent of teens talk honestly with their parents or a trusted adult about sex according to educators Drs. Joni Frater and Esther Lastique, who presented a Sex Ed Boot Camp this fall at Penn College in Williamsport.   

In providing open discussion, that teacher was justified. Yet parents also need to be aware of what will be covered in their young students’ sex education course. Words must be spoken openly, words in a language that youth understand, to get to the crucial and informed choices so that youth do not engage in sex before they can learn about it.

Sharlene Gilman,