By Ben Velderman
CHICAGO – Along with their ABC’s, kindergarteners and first-graders in Chicago Public Schools will soon be learning about reproduction and the merits of “good touch vs. bad touch.”
The lessons will be part of the district’s new sex ed curriculum, which also discusses sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time ever, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The curriculum is partly in response to President Barack Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Healthy Chicago Initiative, the Tribune reports.
The ramped up sex ed curriculum is also in response to statistics that reveal CPS students have become more sexually active in recent years.
Beginning in 2016, kindergarteners and first-graders will learn about anatomy, healthy relationships and personal safety. Second- and third-graders will learn about physical growth and development. Students in grades 4 and 5 will learn about the physical, social and emotional aspects of puberty, along with the causes of HIV transmission, the Tribune reports.
“After fifth grade, the program would include age-appropriate discussions about human reproduction, healthy decision-making, bullying and contraception,” the paper reports.
At their parents’ request, students can opt out of the new program.
While educating young children about the wide world of sex might help protect them from pervy teachers, critics of the curriculum say it has the effect of sexualizing innocent youngsters.
“They’re very much pushing an extreme agenda across the board, both to normalize sex and begin the conversation earlier, and in total the K-12 curricula is explicit and not in the best interests of the young people,” Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, told Baptist Press.
Huber isn’t reassured by the district’s assurance that the sex ed curriculum will be kept age-appropriate for young children.
“I think it really goes back to how we define age appropriate. The groups who are promoting those standards would essentially define age appropriate as anything that can be cognitively understood even though it’s not developmentally appropriate,” said Huber. “So really there are no limits to what you can share as long as you make the vocabulary elementary enough.”