Rochester mayor: Sex education for kindergartners is government ‘overstepping’


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (via WROC) — Some New York State lawmakers are calling for a bill that requires comprehensive sex education in schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she’s against it, arguing sex ed is a parent’s job.

New York State doesn’t have a law requiring schools to teach sex ed.

Judy Schwartz is the chair of the Planning Committee for Interfaith Impact of New York State. She said schools should start teaching age-appropriate sex ed early on.

“If they know that at school there’s consistency and this is what we call it that will help them if heaven forbid they are confronted by a situation that they need to deal with,” Schwartz said.

Warren said this is a parent’s job.

“As a mother to a 9-year-old daughter I want to be able to have those discussions with my child, I want to be able to have those discussions between me, her, and her doctor and not be mandated by law to do that,” said Warren, D-Rochester.

Future of Sex Education is a group that advocates for sex education in schools. It says children in kindergarten through second grade should be able to identify different family structures, friendships, and healthy ways to express feelings, learn all people have the right to not be touched, and use proper names for body parts. These recommendations are also found on Planned Parenthood’s website.

“It’s really something more about relationships and, yes, there are sexual components to it but overall it’s trying to make our kids healthier in a broader way,” Schwartz said.

Joann Buff is a youth advocate who favors abstinence education. She said she agrees with Warren.

“The greatest problem is the state dictating to parents and schools what they should be teaching their children. That’s not their place. Parents should be able to decide what they want for their kids,” Buff said.

Warren also said she opposes two other bills. One bill would permit a child 14 or older to get a vaccine without a parent’s consent. The other allows doctors to treat children under 18 for a sexually transmitted disease, including giving a vaccine, without a parent’s consent.

The Interfaith Impact of New York State will be holding an event called “Sexuality Education in New York: How Much Should Be Taught?” on March 8 at First Unitarian Church. The discussion will focus on bills introduced in the New York State Legislature which require sexuality education in public schools. The program is free and open to the community.

Only 24 states have laws requiring sex ed be taught in schools.

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