Josh Verges guest post
What is the appropriate age to teach a kid about condoms?
The Sioux Falls School District says it’s grade seven*. They posted online the letter they send to parents that explains what kids learn about sex in which grades.
The curriculum says clearly that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and transmission of STDs. But in grades seven and eight, contraception is part of the message too:
Identify methods of pregnancy prevention and analyze the effectiveness rates of contraception, including the prevention of STDs, and the benefits of remaining abstinent.
For some kids, of course, grade seven is too late.
In 2011, 5 percent of boys and 2 percent of girls said they had had sexual intercourse before the age of 13, according to South Dakota’s latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Two years earlier, it was 8 and 4 percent.
The survey also asked about condom use. Among high school students who had had intercourse in the last three months, 71 percent of boys and 52 percent of girls said they or a partner had used a condom.
*There’s a case to be made that parents shouldn’t rely on schools to get this message across. If your kid needs to have the talk, do so when necessary. On the other hand, parents can pull their kids out of these discussions at school if they’re uncomfortable with something.
Afton Johnson, Truth 4 Youth speaker, had the 9th graders line up in order of a healthy relationship at Edgerton (Minn.) High School, on May 15, 2009. - Argus Leader file photo