This school year, The Chicago Board of Education implemented a new sexual health policy that starts the conversation (beginning with the names of reproductive body parts and the difference between good/bad touching) in Kindergarten. It’s a big departure from the district’s previous sex-ed policy, in which older students were taught “abstinence as the expected norm.” Now, sex education in the district is tailored to each grade level.
NPR radio segment Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is
This past Fall, Youth Radio teen reporter Donisha Dansby visited some Bay Area schools, to listen in and find out what it’s like for kids who start puberty early -- before it’s talked about in the classroom. One Bay Area fourth grader Youth Radio spoke to was six when she says she started getting underarm hair and wearing deodorant. She was nine when she started wearing a bra. At the time she talked to Youth Radio, she hadn't yet received any puberty education at school — which left the conversation to her mom. "Honestly, it made me feel a little uncomfortable, but I did my best," her mom says. "I just brought her home some bras and I said, 'Here!' And she put them on."
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CDE resource Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools
California has health education standards for each grade, including topics like hygiene and nutrition. Under the current standards, sex education does not begin until 5th grade.
Huff Post article Sex-Ed Needs K-12 Foundation Like Math, According To New Standards
In 2013, The Chicago Board of Education approved a new sexual health education policy that would start sexual health education starting in Kindergarten. “Clearly we won’t be talking about sexually transmitted infections in kindergarten,” said Stephanie Whyte, Chief Health Officer for Chicago Public Schools. “But we’re talking about ‘good touch, bad touch,’ my body, living things reproduce, family, feelings, bullying.”
NPR radio segment Like Girls, Boys Are Entering Puberty Earlier
Even though most of the research on earlier puberty has focused on girls, it appears that boys are also maturing faster than previous decades. A 2012 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that American boys are also entering puberty between six months and two years earlier than in earlier studies. The reasons why aren’t completely clear, but some scientists say obesity or estrogen-like chemicals in the environment may be to blame.
SF Gate article Youth Radio: College students reflect on 30 years of HIV/AIDS
It’s been over 30 years since the official discovery of HIV/AIDS, an disease which altered the conversation about safer sex and sex education in the United States. Youth Radio’s Asha Richardson talks to several California college students about the pros and cons of how they were educated about sex, and how it impacted their relationship choices as adults.
This KQED Do Now segment was produced in collaboration with Youth Radio, the Peabody Award-winning youth-driven production company headquartered in Oakland, California. This post was written by Teresa Chin at Youth Radio.