Texas considers introducing sex education to kindergartners

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AUSTIN, Tx. (KOSA/Gray News) - The Texas State Board of Education is considering new policies that would begin sex education during kindergarten.

Texas Education Board Commissioner Mike Morath made recommendations in his health care review that include lessons about healthy relationships and reproduction.

Brae'Lee Stewart is 6 years old and just finished kindergarten a few months ago. Her mother, Brae'Lynn, said the idea of her daughter learning anything about sex at her age makes her cringe.

"If she was in school and I got that kind of letter sent home, I'd probably take her out of school," Brae'Lynn said. "She would be home schooled, or we would try some kind of private or something. But in no way do I think that is at all appropriate for anybody under the age of puberty."

Morath's guidelines don't offer specifics on how lessons would work, but say they would include age-appropriate material about forming healthy relationships, personal safety, anatomy and reproduction.

Brae'Lynn said even if kindergartners like her daughter are only getting a basic crash course, they're still just too young to start wondering about sex.

"Kids talk," she said. "They're out on the playground, they talk back and forth. There's a million problems that could arise."

However, Gino Sallo, Ector County's Health Department director, had a different take.

He said too many young people aren't comfortable learning how to have safe sex, and those taboos need to be broken down early in life.

"The number one thing it would do is, it would educate them to make the right decisions," Sallo said.

Beth Webster works to keep young people sexually healthy through programs at the nonprofit Life Center in Midland, Texas.

"While those rates of unplanned teen pregnancy goes down, the infection rates are going up," Webster said. "Which is why we have our department, is it's down to education."

While she agrees education is vital, Brae'Lynn said kindergarten isn't the time. She said the best sex education starts at home, which is how Brae'Lynn plans to do it.

"In no way do they need to learn that from teachers," she said. "That is not a teacher's responsibility. That is a parent's."

The Texas State Board of Education will vote on the new health standards in September 2020.

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