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Parents Are Being Left Out of the Sexual Education Discussion

As more and more districts are choosing to go fully remote this fall, an article promoted in OSPI’s recent newsletter takes on a new level of importance.

The article discusses the difficulty sexual health educators face trying to create relationships with students remotely and gives a sampling of how they can effectively communicate and answer questions in a way which builds trust between them and the student.

Scenarios include a teen reaching out and asking how to know if they’re in a healthy relationship, how to choose the right birth control for them, and expressing fears they might be pregnant. The article even promotes an upcoming, more in-depth training session so teachers can further work on their skills. There’s just one thing missing...PARENTS.

Not once does the article tell teachers to suggest or even question whether or not the child has tried talking to their parents. None of the responses to the questions posed resemble anything like what a parent would ask, such as: how old is the person you are in a relationship with?; how old are you?; how long have you and your partner been together?- nothing that would resemble “shaming” or infer that the child is not in full control of their sex life which goes against the tenets of CSE. In fact, an adult not asking these questions could strengthen the idea in the child they they have “uncool” or controlling parents and discourage them from trying to reach out to them in the future.

Teachers do play an important roles in our kids lives, but at no time should any organization, let alone our own OSPI, be promoting ideas that encourage them to sideline parents in the rightful role they should play in the lives of their own children. Schools should be working to strengthen the family bond and serve as a bridge joining parents and their children, not providing a detour around them.

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