Some parents in Missouri are outraged over a sex ed book the Francis Howell School District's middle school has made available to students in ebook form. Entitled It's Perfectly Normal, the book aims to address changing bodies, growing up, sex, and sexual health, and is meant for kids 10 years and up. But some parents are alarmed by the book's "graphic" cartoon drawings of naked people and others involved in sexual acts and are calling for it to be removed.
Thankfully, it seems like the school district is holding its ground, explaining that "it was determined to keep the ebook available as a resource for check-out in the library. If a parent determines that he/she does not want to their child to have access to certain materials, we honor that request." Sounds like the perfect response.
Books like It's Perfectly Normal DO have a place on school library shelves. The fact of the matter is that sex ed belongs in schools. In middle school especially, discussing adolescence and hormones and sexuality has often been a part of the curriculum. Plus, comprehensive sex ed -- defined as age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality, including human development, relationships, decision-making, abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention -- is associated with a lower risk of teen pregnancy.
Ultimately, what parent wouldn't want their child to have the knowledge to empower them to make the right choices about their body and, in turn, their future? This book is just one way for them to be better educated about sex and do exactly that.
At the same time, parents deserve to know what's going on in so far as their kid's curriculum, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects like this. Perhaps they take issue with a book like It's Perfectly Normal or a lesson in health class. For that reason, school districts should of course be cluing parents into their sex ed plans and policies -- including books like this that are available to the student body -- and allowing them to opt their child out, if need be. It's the only solution that makes sense for all kids, who are all deserving of proper, thorough sex ed.
How do you feel about a book like this being available in a school library?
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