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Sex education should be mandatory in all schools

By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
October 29, 2011 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
Roland Martin says sex is a fact of life and schools should offer factual information on it as part of a curriculum
Roland Martin says sex is a fact of life and schools should offer factual information on it as part of a curriculum
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NYC should be commended for mandating sex education, Roland Martin says
  • Safe sex and abstinence must be dealt with in an educational setting, he says
  • Martin: While abstinence is definitely safest, we have to accept reality.

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- There are few things more annoying than listening to ignorant, whiny parents complain about a school district teaching their children about sex.

How in the world do we say it's OK for schools to teach our children about math, science, history, and numerous other subjects, yet then get high and mighty with righteous indignation when biology is taken a step further to focus on sex?

Too many parents live in denial about their children having sex, and somehow saying you'll handle the tough stuff is living in fantasy land.

The city of New York should be commended for not bowing to the blowhards and confronting the reality of sex in America by mandating a sex education curriculum beginning in 2012.

Whether it's safe sex practices or even abstinence, all of these issues must be dealt with in an educational setting, because when we look at the teen pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, it only makes sense to have as much education as possible.

Taxes and death are considered two undeniably realities of life. I would say that sex is right behind those two.

I recall as an elementary student, as well as in middle school and high school, taking classes that dealt with sex. Yes, elementary school. It was done properly and smartly, and was needed. Did it prevent children from getting pregnant too soon? I can't say for sure. But I can definitely say knowing more about a topic than less is crucial.

Now let's deal with the abstinence-only nuts who act as if anything else shouldn't be taught. Yes, I'm talking directly to The NYC Parents' Choice Coalition.

They are upset with videos demonstrating how to put on a condom, as well as other aspects of the sex education curriculum.

Folks, y'all are flat out crazy if you want to encourage parents to opt out of sex education by making it more about abstinence and nothing else. Why can't both take place? Abstinence is definitely the safest of all safe sex measures, but there is also a point when we have to accept reality.

Talk to school teachers and administrators and they will tell you that students as young as middle school are engaging in oral sex, and there is the belief that that really doesn't count as sex. Yet anyone with half a brain knows that to be the case.

If kids are out there having oral sex, they sure as heck need to know that doing so without protection can be life-altering.

But such parents groups prefer to stick their heads in the sand. They find such talk unseemly and think such frankness should be left between child and parent.

Not me. As a Jesus lovin' Christian, I'm about real talk, and if that means dealing with sex directly, let's go for it.

Educators and city officials in New York should fully brace themselves for the onslaught. Right-thinking folks are tired of seeing young folks coming back HIV-positive or dealing with a pregnancy at 16.

I have nine nieces and four nephews, and I would be fully supportive of them being taught about sex education in school. Forget shying from a tough subject. If we are going to equip our children for tomorrow, then sex needs to be dealt with in a smart, productive and educational setting by professionals.

It's clear that parents aren't as dependable on some matters as they like to delude themselves into believing.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.

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