Monocles popped out of eyeballs across the nation this week as Chicago public schools announced the expansion of their sexual education program. It will now include children as young as five. Thirty minutes a month, or roughly three-hundred minutes each school year, will be spent on the reproductive health expansion. Emphasis will be placed on using age-appropriate material and language children can understand.

As you might have guessed, the Chicago School Board has been inundated with hysterical complaints since the announcement. But what's all the fuss about? What is this class actually planning to teach five-year-olds?

  • Sexuality will be incorporated into existing anti-bullying programs, encouraging children to reject stereotypes and respect those with sexual values that are different from their own.
  • Children will be given appropriate names for body parts - including the um … no-no bits. Hopefully this means that when they're adults, they'll no longer use silly euphemisms like no-no bits.
  • Appropriate versus inappropriate touching will be discussed, and children will be taught that they have autonomy over their own bodies. This includes discussion of what children should do if they are touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
These seem like normal, natural and helpful subjects that are totally appropriate for children. In fact, UNESCO supports giving children factually correct, age-appropriate information about sexuality from birth. Its 2010 report is clear in its assertion that "inadequate preparation leaves children vulnerable." U.S. President Barack Obama also supported this expansion of reproductive health education when he was still an Illinois senator ... which, come to think of it, may be why the issue is so virulently politicized today.

Most of the outrage seems to spring from the bizarre assumption that the classes will teach the same material to five-year-olds as they do to high school students. Other detractors are miffed that the curriculum will "normalize" homosexuality, blended families, interracial families, and other non-traditional arrangements common to most public schools in America.

Only time will tell whether or not teaching five-year-olds the proper terms for their genitals will result in the moral collapse of the nation. (Do you ever wish your parents had told you more? Or less? Read The Talk: What I Wish My Mom Had Told Me About Sex.)

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