The Possibilities for a School-Supported Sex Education: Between Consolidating Assumptions and Inclusion of the New

Article Polish OPEN
Smoter, Barbara (2016)
  • Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
  • Journal: Elementary Education in Theory and Practice (issn: 2353-7787, eissn: 1896-2327)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.14632/eetp_39.1
  • Subject: Education | sex education; NGOs; support; sexual behaviour; education | pedagogika | wychowanie seksualne; organizacje pozarządowe; wspomaganie; zachowania seksualne; edukacja

A characteristic feature of modern democratic societies is, arguably, the presence of disputes concerning whether certain statements should be recognized as legitimate. Such disputes are also typical when it comes to the issue of how sex education should be implemented in schools. This article assumes that no society is free from legal regulation, and that, typically, some further elements of standardization are also likely to be in force in matters relating to sexuality. The incorporation of these practices in educational institutions is accompanied by a number of controversies. In this paper, a significant attempt to formulate answers to the following questions is made: Who “gives” responsibility for the implementation of these practices? Which of the possibilities for supporting specific individuals responsible for the implementation of a school sex education can be considered acceptable? And how should these practices be understood in the light of the social regulation of sexuality? These questions may be answered through a characterization of the activities relating to sex education carried out in schools, and by separating out those organizations responsible for setting targets when it comes to cooperating with schools in this area. Then, a division of organizations can be made, distinguishing those engaged in helping to consolidate existing practices of sex education in schools on the one hand, and those involved in carrying out activities that undermine the legitimacy of the status quo in schools in this respect, or in taking the initiative in order to supplement the “shortcomings” of the latter, on the other. In the first group, the practices in question act as a preventive against changes that may take place in the structure of classification according to which sex education is portrayed in schools. Meanwhile, the need for change in this area proves to have been postulated by the organizations included in the other group here. Organizations of the latter sort seem to be aimed either at assisting schools in addressing the problems present in institutions and in individuals themselves, or at filling gaps in their knowledge, or in respect of skills relating to the sphere of sexual life. 
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