Sex education in school

Sex education in school: what is involved and why is sex education a topic of discussion in Germany? Can children be exempted from sex education classes? Find the answers to these questions in this article.

Sex education at school takes place, for example, as part of biology or general knowledge lessons or a project lesson on sexual education. In terms of content, sex education generally includes the following topics:

  • biological basics, such as the difference between man and woman and the explanation of sexual organs
  • the birth of a child/sexual intercourse
  • puberty
  • partnership and love
  • Roles and lifestyles
  • contraception
  • STDs
  • Sexual Violence , Abuse , Harassment

Sex education often a point of contention

What should be covered when and how deeply in sex education classes? This question repeatedly leads to discussions in Germany. In addition to different opinions, for example from teachers and parents, this is certainly also due to the fact that sex education lessons are subject to different guidelines from one federal state to the next. The following examples:

  • In Berlin , sex education in first and second grade includes sexual organs and gender differences as well as abuse prevention. In third and fourth grade, students can experience how a child is made. From then on, homosexuality is also discussed. In this context, a media case introduced by the school senate in 2011 for primary school lessons caused a stir. Among other things, this takes up homosexuality and has been criticized by the church and associations, for example for standardizing different ways of life and for sexualizing children without being asked.
  • In Bavaria , the fundamental difference between men and women, roles and distribution of roles in the family, and the prevention of sexual abuse are all part of the primary school curriculum. According to the current guideline, however, the visual and written representation of teaching content should be avoided. The conception of a child is not intended until the fifth grade. It was not until the end of 2012 that a large teachers’ association called for more education in schools in Bavaria. In the internet age, children and young people are increasingly confronted with pornography and unsettled. They should therefore not be left alone with their questions. However, the Ministry of Education saw no need for action.
  • Sex education in North Rhine-Westphalia looks different again . Here, the design of the lessons is largely left to the schools themselves. Only the timing is planned: sex education takes place primarily in secondary school. However, age-appropriate teaching of gender roles and physical differences should also be taught in elementary school.

Sex education: Parents should be informed in good time

Even if the regulations on sex education differ in the individual federal states: Parents should always be informed in good time by their child’s school about the content and methodology, for example via a parents’ letter or as part of a parents’ meeting.

Freeing children from sex education?

Exemption from sex education lessons – for example for religious reasons – is generally not permitted. Compulsory schooling clearly has priority here, as long as the school maintains neutrality and tolerance towards the educational ideas of the parents. Accordingly, school instruction must not identify itself with a specific belief or worldview, but should ensure that knowledge is imparted in a factually neutral manner. However, lessons that are too factual and biologically oriented can lead to certain questions being left unanswered for children and young people because they do not dare to ask them.

Overall, sex education in school makes a contribution to educating children and young people. Nevertheless, the content conveyed does not necessarily include all areas of sexuality and questions of the children. Also, sex education in school does not always reflect what parents want to teach their children. You should therefore not leave education to the school alone, but actively help to shape the sexual education of your own children from an early age. In this article , we have compiled some recommendable educational books, brochures and counseling services for parents, children and young people.

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