The New York Times published the following letter to the editor by PPNYC President and CEO Joan Malin on sex education on December 12, 2014:
To the editor:
The lessons children learn from trusted adults about sex and relationships can help them make healthy decisions throughout their lives.
That’s why we must encourage parents and caregivers to have honest communication with their children about healthy sexuality early and often and have that supported through comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in every school — kindergarten through 12th grade.
New York City mandates one semester of sex education in middle school and one in high school, but even that often doesn’t happen. In a recent survey by the Connect to Protect (C2P) Bronx Coalition, less than two-thirds of participating Bronx high school students said they learned about healthy relationships in school, and just 37 percent learned communication skills when it comes to sex.
That is not acceptable. New York City should be a leader in sex education, which means teaching more than just basic anatomy and prevention. We need to give children the tools to communicate effectively, understand what a healthy relationship looks like, and have respect for one’s own body and the bodies of others. These are the lessons that will influence their decision-making in a positive way throughout their lives.
President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City
December 12, 2014