Dear Commons Community,
Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that the New York City public schools will be introducing a new sex education curriculum that will be mandatory across the system. The curriculum includes lessons on how to use a condom and the appropriate age for sexual activity. The city’s mandate calls for schools to teach a semester of sex education in 6th or 7th grade, and again in 9th or 10th grade. Parents will also be allowed to have their children opt out of classes that deal with birth-control.
A NY Times article stated that:
“It’s obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls,” said Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services. “But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex.”
Implementing sex education in New York City will not be without problems and opposition. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Catholic Archdiocese has already issued a press release stating that:
“The decision of the City of New York to mandate sex education classes, including teaching grade school children about sex and condom use, is troubling. Parents have the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children. This mandate by the city usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents.”
In my opinion, this change is long overdue and better late than never.