- Sex ed facilitators' youthful vigor irks middle school parents
The Georgetown Dish and select Hardy Middle School parents continue their crusade against Metro TeenAIDS' sexual education program in the District's 7th grade classrooms. This time: Are babies teaching your babies?
The Dish's Beth Solomon reports:
Others questioned the qualifications of Metro TeenAIDS facilitators—typically age 17-24, according to the organization's materials—in handling such sensitive and complex issues in school. "Why is DCPS transferring the responsibility of sex ed to a bunch of 17-24 year olds instead of degreed professionals?" asked another Hardy parent.
Parents expressed dismay that when a 12-year-old student told facilitators during the "sex test" that he didn't know what "oral sex" or "anal sex" meant, the 25-year-old facilitators started to explain those terms, raising even more questions for some students.
Twenty-five-year-olds? Egad. Why can't we contract the elderly to perform the sexual edification of our nation's children?
"It's always our preference to have sexual education taught by highly-trained 'near-peers,'" explains Metro TeenAIDS executive director Adam Tenner. "There’s a lot of data to show that young people—especially starting in middle school—are going to be most interested in hearing what their peers and near-peers have to say on these issues."
So Metro TeenAIDS partners with D.C.'s City Year to position near-peers in its DCPS sex ed program. The nationwide service corps employs 17 to 24-year-olds, but Tenner says that Metro TeenAIDS facilitators don't generally fall on the younger side of the spectrum (some City Year volunteers also turn 25 during their one-year deployment).
Regardless of age, Tenners says that the facilitators are all professionally trained. "They're armed with the best training on reproductive science and technology, as well as all the rules for the reproductive health curriculum in D.C. schools," Tenner says. "They're also specifically trained to handle questions on reproductive health, and all the mechanics on methods of birth control and transmission of STDs that are addressed in the curriculum."
Tenner stresses that the Metro TeenAIDS crew doesn't supplant the role of teachers, as regular classroom instructors are present and involved throughout the sex ed program. And while some students prefer to turn to teachers to answer awkward sexual queries, many prefer to talk sexual health with someone a little less . . . old. "We find youthful trainers very effective," Tenner says.