Conflicting Philosophies of School Sex Education

Journal of Moral Education 24 (4):371-382 (1995)
Abstract
Abstract This paper surveys the range of philosophical positions currently found in school sex education materials. Five main positions are identified: school sex education should not occur; school sex education should promote physical health; school sex education should promote personal autonomy; school sex education should promote responsible sexual behaviour; school sex education should take place within a religious framework. The strengths and weaknesses of each of these positions are examined. It is argued that valid sex education in schools promotes rational sexual autonomy, requires pupils to consider the needs and wishes of others, and takes place within a moral framework. The identification of the moral framework within which sex education is taught is a matter of controversy. Once this is acknowledged, possible approaches towards the balanced teaching of school sex education become easier to identify. It is suggested that teachers should adopt a position which combines elements of affirmative and procedural neutrality
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