Just as the clamor for less government involvement grows louder and louder, it turns out that state and local governments actually want a bigger role interfering in our homes, doing our jobs as parents and usurping our rights to teach our children... Here's what you had to say: Marcella commented via Facebook: "I think that age is too young. Children should keep their innocence a bit longer. Age 10 is more appropriate." Juliette wrote via Facebook: "It's not too young at all. Children need to know so that they can understand possibly protect themselves."
Just as the clamor for less government involvement grows louder and louder, it turns out that state and local governments actually want a bigger role interfering in our homes, doing our jobs as parents and usurping our rights to teach our children. A school board in Helena, Montana, recently proposed to start teaching sex education to kindergartners. Seriously? Kindergarten. At five years old, my son still thought he was going to marry me when he grew up. I thought kindergarten was for social skills, learning to walk in a line, singing rhyming songs and learning basic academics. And let's face it, the public school system, in general, has done a poor job teaching the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic -- do we really want them taking on sex education? The proposed curriculum includes teaching (in first grade) the difference between homosexual and heterosexual sex, and by the time students are 10 years old, instruction will include the various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through "anal penetration," according to the proposal. By 7th grade, the students are taught they have the legal right to an abortion, as well as sterilization and contraception. It's just too far. And starting in kindergarten? The truth is, every child comes to kindergarten with a different maturity level. Classrooms, at that age, are grouped by chronological age with no concern for emotional maturity. My son just finished kindergarten, I know how it works. And sex education is the kind of information that needs to come when a child is mature enough to receive it, not when it is mandated by the state. And nobody knows a child's true maturity level better than his mother and father. The other problem that people forget is that at those tender years, sex education is really about values. Family values. And teaching values is my job, not the school's. Why the state is putting itself in between me and my responsibilities to my child is beyond me. But I really don't want it there. Mixing politics and education is a volatile mix that pretty much always leads to disastrous results. This is another classic example of why parents, especially Black parents, have to reclaim our rights and responsibilities as parents and be willing to agitate for those rights. Parents are already in an uproar in Montana and many are threatening to pull their kids from the public school system. But when we agitate and say teaching values is our job, then we have to hold up our end of the bargain and actually teach those values. Meanwhile, instead of addressing the roots of our sex-obsessed society and looking at the fundamental moral and family breakdown that leads to higher teen pregnancy rates, authorities grasp at one band-aid-over-a bullet-wound solution after another. Last month, a new policy in a Massachusetts public school district made condoms available to students in elementary school because they say there is no set age when sexual activity starts. It's all too much too soon. Attention parents: There are other things that are proven to prevent underage sex and teenage pregnancy: present and powerful parenting, positive role models, spiritual values and good communication. But the handwriting is on the wall. If we don't do our jobs then the state will, and we won't have a leg to stand on. Kimberly Seals Allers is a leading authority on the black parenting experience, founder of MochaManual.com, a lifestyle destination and popular blog for black moms, and author of The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy, The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit, and The Mocha Manual to Military Life (Amistad/ HarperCollins). A divorced mom of two, her life's mission is to help women become powerful parents, flex their mama muscles and to live a life of endless possibilities. Catch Kimberly's other blogs at BabyCenter.com, LifetimeMoms.com and Momlogic.com and the Black Maternal Health Project of Women's eNews.