Fix Houston

How to Improve Sex Education in Houston Schools

Let me tell you about the birds and the bees.

By Dianna Wray January 30, 2020 Published in the February 2020 issue of Houstonia Magazine

According to Kimberly Baker, a health promotion and behavioral sciences professor at UTHealth, it's crucial that parents get involved in sex-ed planning. "A lot of folks are unaware that they can be on a school's health advisory council, and that, as parents, you can have an impact on what is being taught,” Baker explains. The Texas Education Agency’s code governing what should be taught changes every couple of years, so parents who want to ensure that accurate, science-based information is being taught need to pay attention. “Some people assume schools are still required to teach abstinence-only, but that was actually changed years ago. Teachers will still shy away from giving students other information about how to keep from getting pregnant or getting STDs just because they’re overly cautious. That’s a big mistake,” Baker says. And when it comes to more delicate topics, even the state education code remains silent, she says. “LGBTQ issues still aren’t really being addressed, and that needs to change. I know some people feel like we’re moving too fast. They take it as a severe threat to talk about things like gender expression and gender identity, but when you don’t give young people the vocabulary and they aren’t taught to be open-minded and to accept differences, that’s where bullying is more likely to happen.” 

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