A sex education curriculum needs to include a focus on sexual health and consent, says a new report from the Institute of Public Health.
The report, released Monday, said sex education is an important tool for schools to build and promote healthy sexual relationships and also helps to educate parents about the benefits of having children.
The report, “Sex Education: Ensuring Healthy Sexual Relationships and Consensual Sexuality in School,” argues that the U.S. needs to invest in comprehensive sex education, including both educational materials and resources.
“Our goal is to create a curriculum that is a reflection of a school culture, and is one that has been widely adopted across the U, including by our country’s schools,” said Susan Leggett, the institute’s president and co-founder.
“By doing this, we can ensure that the message that we’re sending is the same across our country, and that parents are informed of the best ways to ensure healthy sexual relations and the respect for each other.”
In the report, the Institute for Public Health, a non-profit, reviews national research and reports on the health and safety of schools, including how well schools are implementing sex education and sexual health information in their curricula.
The institute’s research found that more than 60 percent of high schools and 50 percent of middle schools in the United States had sex education materials, including the following:”A comprehensive sex ed program is important, but the best way to achieve a healthy sex life is to have it in school, as opposed to on the internet or in a digital setting,” said David Hodge, the director of public health and health policy at the Institute.
“Schools can be effective in their efforts to teach sex ed, but they also have a responsibility to protect the health of students and the general public.”
The report recommends that schools use content that is “reasonably safe and well-structured for students to learn about their bodies and sexuality, and does not include explicit information.”
It also recommends that teachers, parents and students should talk about the importance of consent and protect and support relationships in their conversations.
“It is not acceptable to have children have sex without consent, and it is not appropriate to teach children that they have no choice in the matter, Hodge said.”
Children should also be taught that consent is the responsibility of the person asking the question and that they should take responsibility for any consequences that may occur from any sexual activity they may engage in, including unwanted pregnancy,” the report added.
The Institute of Postsecondary Education, a nonprofit, is a national non-partisan research organization with a mission to promote education, public health, and economic security through public policy, public engagement, and outreach to ensure equitable access to higher education, education, and workforce.
The institute also advocates for access to quality education and workforce development for disadvantaged youth.
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