“If You Don’t, Who Will?” Conference Highlights

People who love kids want to do the right thing. But they don’t always know how. This is never truer than when we talk about teaching kids about puberty, relationships, and sexuality. “If You Don’t, Who Will?” is a workshop about helping participants take action to get effective sex education in place in their schools.

Sex Education in Schools

Pat Bednarz and I first presented this workshop geared toward school nurses for the 2016 National Association of School Nurses conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was so well received that we decided to modify it for the “Connecting with Kids through School Health” conference[1] in Traverse City, Michigan on June 17. Twenty-four teachers, administrators, parents and school nurses attended our session and engaged in lively discussion. I reprised the workshop again for the Indiana School Health Network’s “Getting to the Heart of School Health” conference[2] June 26 in Indianapolis. This time, the room was standing room only as 52 people joined another thought-provoking discussion about school-based sex education.

What made the topic of sex education in schools so appealing?

Sex Education in Schools

Well, parents, schools and health professionals across the country recognize a need to provide more complete and effective sex education for young people in schools. [3], [4],[5],[6],[7],[8]  And yet, schools face many challenges when they attempt to plan and implement an effective sex education program.

These are some of the questions that were asked:

  • What state and federal laws impact how sex education is taught in schools?
  • Who should be on our committee to plan the school sex education program?
  • How will we know what topics to teach and what grades to teach them?
  • How can we build parent awareness and support for the sex education program?
  • What tools are available to help teachers and parents teach sex education?
  • Who will be responsible for all the work it takes to convene the sex education advisory committee and coordinate the program?
  • What funding is available for sex education?

Find resources for planning and implementing sex education in schools:

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[1] https://mishca.org/conference/

[2] https://www.ckfindiana.org/about/ishn/annual-conference

[3] https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1189043.pdf

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5495344/

[5] https://www.verywellhealth.com/support-comprehensive-education-schools-3133083

[6] http://neatoday.org/2018/05/31/sex-education-needs-an-upgrade/

[7] https://nursing.usc.edu/blog/americas-sex-education/

[8] https://www.nasn.org/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-sexual-health