As a future language arts teacher I find talking about controversial topics to be most educational, because I want to learn how to lead a charged classroom discussion when provocative topics such as religion and sex education arise. To have a charged classroom the teacher has to start a discussion that will create both friction and potential for further learning, but it’s the teachers’ job to guide the students’ discussion towards a democratic education approach. Now in regards to the controversial topic of religion and sex education, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state as well as the right to have freedom of thought, inquiry, and speech under the First Amendment. With this in mind I believe these provocative topics should be discussed in public schools, especially in high school when these topics are relevant.
Now, abstinence-only education goes against our constitutional right to educate children because it “restricts students’ access to information and limit learning to one “approved” message about human sexuality” (Taking Sides, 2005). Furthermore, how can abstinence-only education align with the principle of separation of church and state when the programs are strongly associated with churches, primarily Christianity, that’re pushing their religious values. Why is it that federal and state funds have shifted from supporting comprehensive sexuality programs to abstinence-only programs that limit students’ sexual education? These programs offer curricula developed by religious groups “whose views on sexual orientation, non-marital sex, contraception, and abortion are not shared by other religious and non-religious people” (Taking Sides, 2005). It’s not democratically or culturally fair to promote one religion or creating a “we” of the school, as a community against non-Christians, which is something teachers should be aware of and avoid. Thus, the whole ideal of abstinence-only programs is biased to Christian values. The last thing I want to do is make one of my students feel like an outsider because their cultural beliefs differs from the majority of their peers.