Sexuality education

Haffner, Debra W.
March 1998
Social Policy;Spring98, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p76
Academic Journal
This article describes the background and the state of the movement for comprehensive sexuality education in the U.S. as of March 1998. Calls for sexuality education for young people are more than a century old. In 1892 and again in 1914, the National Education Association promoted sex education as a necessary part of a national education curriculum. During the 1960s, however, a concerted effort to stop sex education was begun by such well-organized and extremely vocal opposition groups as the John Birch Society and the Christian Crusade. During the late 1980s, interest in sexuality education again burgeoned, largely as a result of the public recognition of the dangers of the HIV epidemic. During the 1990s, sexuality education has indeed become a fact of life. There is now broad-based public and professional consensus about the need for sexuality education for children and youth. The bad news is that only a few U.S. communities offer comprehensive sexuality programs at all grade levels. In August 1996, the movement for comprehensive sexuality education in the U.S. suffered a major setback. After a century of calls for sexuality education, the author observes that young people still are not receiving the information and education they need to become sexually healthy adults.


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