Does Sex Ed Undermine Parental Rights?

From a newspaper ad in 1904

A fascinating, challenging op-ed piece in the New York Times. Here’s how the authors, Robert P. George and Melissa Moschella, both of Princeton University, begin:

IMAGINE you have a 10- or 11-year-old child, just entering a public middle school. How would you feel if, as part of a class ostensibly about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, he and his classmates were given “risk cards” that graphically named a variety of solitary and mutual sex acts? Or if, in another lesson, he was encouraged to disregard what you told him about sex, and to rely instead on teachers and health clinic staff members?

That prospect would horrify most parents. But such lessons are part of a middle-school curriculum that Dennis M. Walcott, the New York City schools chancellor, has recommended for his system’s newly mandated sex-education classes. There is a parental “opt out,” but it is very limited, covering classes on contraception and birth control.

What do you think? Should parents have the authority to determine what their children learn about sex and when? Or does the societal need trump parental freedom? Who knows best here? Who should decide?

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