In comparison with other issues in urban schools, there aren’t quite as many people actively working to expand, diversify, or improve sex education nationally or specifically in Atlanta. It is often a very sensitive and controversial issue, resulting in significant backlash from parents who believe that schools should not be responsible for teaching sex education. Those who are fighting for sex education, often do so within a larger organization that advocates for improved sex education, but whose primary focus is women’s rights, HIV, domestic abuse, or another sex-related issue outside of schools. Given these limitations, it was challenging to find many grassroots organizations but read below to find out what is being done and how you can get involved!
Comprehensive sex education-advocates are primarily concerned parents who are frustrated with what their student is being taught about sex education, researchers who are appalled at the statistics that demonstrate adolescents’ lack of sexual health knowledge, or public health workers who see the need for education to improve STI and HIV rates. While the majority of advocates are parents, researchers and public health workers, I have also a few organizations that were started by students.
How have they organized?
Organizations like Gwinnett Citizens for Comprehensive Sex Education (GCCSE) have collected signatures on petitions for medically and scientifically sound sex education curricula and campaigned for local school board candidates who support accurate sex education. Other groups, like Sister Love, Inc. focus on parent education and making sure parents know what their kids are learning in Fulton County schools. Generally, I have found that grassroot organizations organize by meeting with school board members, encouraging community members to vote for school board members who support accurate sex education, and getting involved politically to mandate comprehensive sexual education.
The issue of comprehensive sex education in schools intersects with many many health, safety, and family issues including STIs and HIV rates, domestic violence, sexual abuse and assault, bullying, self esteem, gender inequality, and racial biases.