Monday, April 9, 2012

A sample sex-ed curriculum

After reading more and more abstinence-only insanity, I thought I'd go a step beyond my previous post on my approach to sex ed and do a sample curriculum.

Topic: Sex is for consenting adults

Discuss the meaning of the term "consent".
Have students look up laws in various jurisdictions on sexual assault/rape, including statutory rape/age of consent.
Have student read case law on the topic, including the recent Supreme Court of Canada case
Discuss how one's partner needs to be awake and reasonably sober to give valid consent.
Discuss how consent is an ongoing process, not a one-shot deal, and that it can be revoked at any time.
Have students look up rules of professional discipline for certain professions, and discuss concept of relationships involving imbalance of power or trust which make it impossible to have valid consent. In other words - psychiatrists cannot date patients, ever.

Discuss good touch/bad touch.
Discuss fact that kids can always tell parents, teachers, doctors or another trusted adult if someone is hurting them or doing something to them that makes them uncomfortable. Do NOT keep a secret just because someone tells you that you cannot tell anyone - in fact, that's a sign that you should tell an adult. If they are scared to tell a parent, it is always ok to talk to a teacher, doctor or school counselor instead. Teachers, doctors and counselors are required by law to help you. If one doesn't help, you can tell someone else. If someone says that something bad will happen if you tell, do not believe them, and tell someone right away. You will not get in trouble for being honest. If you are ever worried about something, there is always an adult who is ready and willing to listen to you.

Discuss how hormone surges in adolescence affect mood and behavior
Research how development of frontal cortex of the brain is not complete until early 20s, and how that affects risk-taking

Have students do detailed life-plans, based on having children at 15, 20, 25, and 30. Life-plans should include educational plan, future career options and salaries, childcare arrangements, budgeting, etc.

Topic: Sex needs to be safe

Research various STDs, their modes of transmission, and what we know about how to prevent transmission. Highlight how recommendations may differ from one disease to another. Include ALL methods of transmission. Give practical instruction on how to prevent transmission (condoms, dental dams, etc.), where to obtain items, and things to avoid (such as nonoxynyl-9 or Vaseline).

Provide information on clinics that do testing, and on accuracy of testing.

Role-play discussion to have with potential partner about safe sex and doing testing.

Refer back to Topic 1, and discuss risks associated with lack of sobriety. Also discuss risk of being slipped "date rape" drugs and ways to minimize risk.

Give information on rape crisis centres and shelters for anyone being abused. Mention that violence isn't always man on woman - it can occur the other way, or in same-sex relationships, and it is always too serious to ignore.

Discuss no-risk and lower-risk activities. Also discuss risks that may be present with various forms of sexual activity.

Emphasize that pain is a problem which should not be ignored.

Topic: Babies need parents who are prepared to care for them

Have students job-shadow a family lawyer or child protection worker, or at least interview them about their work.

Research child support laws.

Research how factors such as alcohol or drug use, poor nutrition or use of certain medications in utero are related to various lifelong medical issues. Discuss the importance of proper prenatal care and pre-pregnancy planning.

Research how parenting impacts children.

Research the impact of parental conflict on children. Discuss how relationships between couples may end, but that you and your child will be tied forever to your child's other parent - for better or worse.

Brainstorm desirable qualities to seek in the person who will be the mother/father of your child.

Provide a list of local public health/birth control clinics, with complete contact information and hours.

Do a comprehensive review of all birth control methods, including proper usage, risks and failure rates. Explain how to access each method of birth control.

Do a math exercise on probability, and the effect of using more than one method of birth control on probability.

Read "Taking Charge of Your Fertility".

Role-play discussions about delaying sex, and about using proper birth control.

Discuss full impact of an unplanned pregnancy on life plans (see Topic 1)

Discuss option for women if faced with unwanted pregnancy (services for teen moms, adoption options, foster care kinship placement, laws against pregnancy discrimination, financial supports available, Plan B, abortion options and side effects).

Discuss fact that men have very limited control over what happens with a pregnancy, and what legal obligations and options exist after the birth.

Topic: Your body

Provide some decent books on puberty, anatomy, hygiene and reproduction

Discuss the full spectrum of what is normal

Point out signs of what may not be normal, discuss breast/testicular self-exam

Discuss body image and self-esteem

Topic: Functional and Dysfunctional Relationships

Provide role models for healthy relationships (obviously, something that goes a bit beyond a mere health class)

Read "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So that Your Kids Will Talk", and work through the examples. Get into pairs or small groups and work on constructive vs. destructive communication. Discuss "I" vs. "You" statements, avoiding words like always or never, avoiding negative labels, expressing feelings and doing active listening.

Group discussion about respect.

Group discussion about love (being committed to someone else and wanting to do what's best for them) vs. lust

Workshop on negative relationship patterns and how to avoid them

Observation of healthy co-parenting relationships, and discussion of expectations for the other parent

Workshop and discussion on abuse and control - physical, verbal, emotional, financial

Guest speaker (police, lawyer, social worker) on identifying potential sources of physical danger (violence, threats, serious uncontrolled mental illness, serious substance abuse), and options for safely dealing with the situation (use and limits of restraining orders, shelters, criminal law, etc.)

Range of sexuality, current legal issues/status and services for the LGBT community