What's the use of sex education in school?

All parents wonder what their children are learning at school, and even more so when it comes to sex. Anatomy, the differences between girls and boys, the modes of reproduction ... Is this teaching useful and relevant? And what does it really consist of?

Cécile Guéret

Talking about sex education in school has long been the trigger for passion and arouses the wildest rumors. The "ABCD of equality", "Sexual zizi, the expo", The Kiss of the moon, All in hair, Tomboy ... Used as teaching aids, they were, each turn, accused of proselytizing for the masturbation, homosexuality, even the disguise of children. Why such mistrust of parents towards a teaching that was thought to be moving quietly between the pages of the SVT books and the reproductive patterns? What do we really learn about sexuality in school? What is the goal? The means granted? And the impact on our children?

What is the content of the courses?

Puberty, contraception, laws, respect, male / female stereotypes, sexism, homophobia ... From kindergarten to the end of the year, the law provides, in addition to the SVT courses (in CM4, fourth and third), which deal with the biological side of sexuality, "three sequences of sexual education at least" a year to address its "psychological, emotional, social, cultural and ethical dimensions". These sequences are speech groups provided by trained professionals from the educational team (teacher, nurse, CPE ...) and approved associations such as Family Planning or SOS homophobia. These interventions are announced to the parents' associations at the beginning of the year and start from the concerns of the young people. "In total, 25% of schools and 94% of colleges have set up at least one sex education sequence. per year, "says Chantal Picod, project manager at the Ministry of Education. In the third, the students also present on topics such as assisted procreation, AIDS, infertility. So much for the outline.

In primary schools, a minority of schools claim that programs are overloaded so as not to deal with this embarrassing subject. In secondary school, when the question is more sensitive, the differences are sometimes noticeable from one teacher to another SVT. "Teachers are free of their pedagogy Some people find it appropriate to talk about the clitoris, small lips, orgasm, even if it does not appear in textbooks, others conform to these manuals that have not changed their patterns since the 1980s, and the discourse that goes with ", says Chantal Picod.

Is this the role of the school?

For the psychoanalyst Gérard Bonnet , the answer is yes. "The school must fulfill its information mission in terms of anatomy and reproduction. pleasure is intimacy, it is a discovery that belongs to children, which is progressive, and can not be taught. " On the teacher side, this distinction is clear. In class, "we are talking only about biology," announces Anne, teacher in CM2 in Paris, in a private school under contract. "In scientific terms, says Chantal Picod." Zizi "and" zigounette "being the reserved emotional vocabulary at home. " For psychoanalyst Mi-Kyung Yi, the sexual question must come out of the family circle :" To educate children to sexuality would be, in a way, to open the conjugal room. "

The intimacy of the parents necessarily comes into play, but" it is on the prohibition of parental sexuality that the child establishes his own.If there is no break, there is confusion and he can not gradually become an adult facing them, "adds Chantal Picod. A modesty that Marie noticed at her daughter's home, grade 5 student: "I learned from other parents that they had a sex education class, when I asked her if it was good, if she had learned things, she did not want to tell me anything. " Moreover, "some parents are delighted that we take care of it," remarks Florence Fressart-Elléouet, a school nurse in a small town in Picardie. And children often prefer not to talk to them about it. "Once, my mother gave me condoms, I did not want to take them, I was too bad, it's not something we can talk about. with her parents, and if I wanted to, it would be easy: there are some in the infirmary ", says Lucie, 16 years old. For Dr Hélène-Marguerite Porte, head of the PMI centers in Bouches-du-Rhône involved in workshops in middle and high school, "the key is there: they know where to find reliable information (from the doctor, family planning, school nurse ...), autonomously ".


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