NEW YORK (PIX11)—New York City students need an education on sex. That's what a new mandate from the Department of Education says, and even though females and males engage in sexual intercourse, the city's new emphasis on birds-and-bees education focuses more heavily on one gender.
Boys are the target of the new citywide order making sex education mandatory. Specifically, African American and Latino males are the focus of the order requiring a semester of sex education in the 6th or 7th grade, and then again in 9th or 10th grade.
The city says that 57 percent of new HIV cases are diagnosed among African American and Latino males, and those demographics are part of a larger initiative Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week. He got philanthropist George Soros to match a $30 million contribution from Bloomberg's own foundation to help fund a $127.5 million city policy emphasis. It's designed to improve the health, education and employment prospects of African American and Latino males, and to reduce their population in jails and prisons.
With that city initiative in mind, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Wolcott sent an email Tuesday evening to public school principals requiring them to have the sex education curriculum in place in time for the second semester of the 2011-2012 school year.
"It's excellent. I like it," one parent, Amira Roberts, told PIX11 News. Under the new requirement, her daughter would have sex education a year from now, when she starts sixth grade. "At this age, there's kids that are sexually active and they need sex education to teach them what's right and what's wrong," Roberts said.
The new requirement generally got positive reviews from parents who spoke with PIX11 News, although some parents may agree with public school dad Kenneth Shepard. "I'd rather I teach them, to tell you the truth," he said, pointing out that he did not approve of children as young as eleven being required to take a semester on sex. "[Only] if they're older, sixteen and up, I think it's a good idea."
Parents will have the option of restricting their children from classes that they find offensive.
Asebi Tingling is considering using her parental right to have her 13-year-old daughter opt out of lessons on birth control methods. "She's so shy and so quiet, I'd rather her find out from me," the Brons mother said. "I've been there done that, and I think I'm the best teacher."
Joe Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, denounced the new mandate, calling it troubling. "Parents have the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children. This mandate by the city usurps that role," Zwilling said. "Abstinence before marriage is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and disease The City would be better advised to put its efforts into promoting what truly works rather than continuing to promote a failed experiment."