Obama Supports Sex Ed for Kindergartners
“Sex Ed for Kindergarteners ‘Right Thing to Do,’ Says Obama,” the headline at ABC News’ Political Radar blog, had the desired effect: It got me to click through.
ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Lindsey Ellerson Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is “age-appropriate,” is “the right thing to do.”
Shocking, right? Well . . . not so much.
When Obama’s campaign was asked by ABC News to explain what kind of sex education Obama considers “age appropriate” for kindergarteners, the Obama campaign pointed to an Oct. 6, 2004 story from the Daily Herald in which Obama had “moved to clarify” in his Senate campaign that he “does not support teaching explicit sex education to children in kindergarten. . . The legislation in question was a state Senate measure last year that aimed to update Illinois’ sex education standards with ‘medically accurate’ information . . . ‘Nobody’s suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,’ Obama said. ‘If they ask a teacher ‘where do babies come from,’ that providing information that the fact is that it’s not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that’s going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'”
In addition to local schools informing kindergarteners that babies do not come from the stork, the state legislation Obama supported in Illinois, which contained an “opt out” provision for parents, also envisioned teaching kindergarteners about “inappropriate touching,” according to Obama’s presidential campaign. Despite Obama’s support, the legislation was not enacted.
It’s a touchy subject, to be sure. Many parents would prefer to shelter their young children from any information about sexuality. On the other hand, given the ubiquity of sexual innuendo even on family friendly television shows and PG movies, kids are going to have questions. Do we want teachers lying to them? And, unfortunately, there are indeed perverts out there sexually abusing children.
Figuring out what’s “age appropriate” and incorporating that into the curriculum — or, at least, teacher training — strikes me as perfectly reasonable.