ERIC Number: ED354628
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Sex Education: Issues of Power and Participation.
The diversity of values about sexuality among administrators, teachers, parents, and children creates serious challenge for public schools. This case study offers an insider's view of what happened in a community when conservative parent groups challenged a senior high health curriculum. In the "Laketown Public Schools," conflict erupted over the "Current Health Issues" course. The main group opposing the curriculum, Concerned Citizens, objected to the value-free approach that invited students to make their own choices. They feared that information about sex would encourage promiscuity and that the concept of "safe sex" misrepresented real dangers. They objected to the inclusion of homosexuality as a discussion topic. Language played a critical role in the conflict: "safe sex,""alternative lifestyles,""graphic" descriptions of sex, the use of warlike and partnership metaphors to describe the conflict, and even the names of various groups became the subject of debate and dialogue. The Concerned Citizens group and the vocal, but less organized group supporting the curriculum exercised an agenda-setting power. A third, much larger, though less vocal group of parents took a variety of positions during the debates. Students were active participants. The curriculum director refocused the discussion on the language of the community, allowing the parties to agree to 15 conclusions that provided a framework for resolving the conflict. Schools, as microcosms of democracy, are required to be inclusive of the diversity that exists in the community, and school administrators can contribute by doing research and reflecting on their practices. (Contains 12 references.) (TEJ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A