Sex education will become a mandatory part of learning for New York City middle and high school students for the first time in almost 20 years. One of the lessons: how to put on a condom.
That's according to a report from the New York Times, which says the teaching will also advise students on the appropriate age for sexual activity.
The mandate calls for schools to instruct a sex education class in either 6th or 7th grade, and then again in 9th or 10th grade. Students are required to take one semester of the classes. This teaching, of course, brings up the long-time national debate about what, if anything, school should teach their students about sex.
“We must be committed to ensuring that both middle school and high school students are exposed to this valuable information so they can learn to keep themselves safe before, and when, they decide to have sex,” NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott wrote in a letter to principals and obtained by Fox News Radio.
This new requirement comes as a part of the Bloomberg administration's efforts to improve the lives of young minorities in the city, according to the New York Times. The outreach is especially focused on young men.
“We have a responsibility to provide a variety of options to support our students, and sex education is one of them,” the chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, said in an interview with the New York Times on Monday.
Officials say the intent of the lessons is to get young adults to wait longer before experimenting with sex, but didn't shy away from admitting there would be indiscreet discussion about graphic topics such as anatomy, pregnancy and puberty with children as young as 11. Parents do have the option to remove their children from certain talks about birth-control methods. Also, local principals will be able to tweak the cirriculum to a certain extent, keeping their specific students and families in mind.
That said, school administrators say they are expecting some backlash from the community.
“We’re going to have to be the bridge between the chancellor’s requirements and the community,” said Casimiro Cibelli, the principal of a Bronx middle school, where many of the students come from immigrant, religious families with traditional views on sex. “Hopefully, we’ll allay their concerns because of their trust in us.”
Ray Parascando, pastor of Crossroads Church, called the news “disheartening.”
“Children are being forced to learn about this away from home,” he told Fox News Radio. “There’s nothing wrong with learning about the human body, but when you start going into discourses on sexuality, I worry that we’re opening students up to other agendas.”
While some have taken up arms, New York officials say sex education classes have been a point of contention before. They also point out that high schools in New York have been distributing condoms for more than 20 years.
The mandatory classes will begin in this coming school year for students in New York City.