CEO official advocates measured approach to sex education
The Director of religious education and curriculum at Sydney's Catholic Education Office has said that older teens in particular don't want to learn about sex from their parents, and that sex education classes can "influence their decision-making" and avoid denying them knowledge.
The Director - Seamus O'Grady - is quoted in a feature in The Australian today, which explores arguments for and against sex education in schools.
"A number of schools have engaged parents in sex education but often when the children are a bit younger, like in Year 6," he said. "But I think when the kids get into high school they don't want their parents around.
"I've had parents write to us and say their children shouldn't be taught these things at all, and these things have no place in a Catholic school, but that is not the view we would take. Our aim is to influence their decision-making, not to deny them knowledge."
The feature was prompted by a study of almost 800 teenagers that found that almost 70% are sexually active and some as young as 15 had contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Doctors and teachers say the research is disturbing and raises questions about the quality of sex education in Australia. They argue teenagers' lack of understanding about safe sex and STDs signals a clear need for better sex education in schools.
But according to the Australian Family Association it is parents, not teachers, who are responsible for their teenagers. "Values and information about relationships should be coming from mum and dad, not a sex education class," says Bill Muehlenberg, national vice-president of the Australian Family Association.
Let's talk about sex (The Australian 6/12/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Education Office, Sydney
CEO sounds alarm on push to tie funding to sex classes (CathNews 10/2/05)
Scottish cardinal accuses Govt of 'state-sponsored' child sex abuse (CathNews 1/9/04)
Visa mystery wipes out trip of a lifetime (Otago Daily Times 2/12/05)
Uni degrees for homeless catching on (Sydney Morning Herald/Sun-Herald 4/12/05)
Summer holidays may shrink at Catholic schools (The Age 5/12/05)
6 Dec 2005