The LA elementary school which attracted national attention for the disgraceful acts of a few teachers and the courage of the administration to act decisively on their behalf now has a new principal. Dolores Palacio, New Miramonte principal has a long road ahead to achieve many goals, and none so important as regaining the trust of parents. In order to do so, she has to establish a new, healthy and open sexual climate in the school and include all faculty, staff, parents and students in her efforts.
Scholars studying school achievement often talk about school climate; in my book the Sex-Wise Parent, I borrowed their basic concepts to discuss sexual climate to describe the overall feeling in a school building around sexual issues. Palacio has an unprecedented opportunity to establish a new, healthy, open sexual climate, based on honesty, respect, accurate information and parental involvement. To help this process along, I urge her to identify credentialed sexuality educators in her community and hire them to do the following:
- Offer all staff a mandatory in-service training on how to discuss sexuality with children in an age appropriate way. This comprehensive workshop should include a review of anatomy and physiology, the opportunity to practice using appropriate sexuality terms.
- Offer all parents workshops on discussing sexuality with their children, including both the healthy, loving aspects and the opportunities for exploitation such as the acts that took place in their school. In many families it’s likely that this tragedy triggered their first discussion about sexuality with their kids; if this is the case, a balanced perspective is needed.
- Offer teachers assistance integrating sexual issues into thier curricula in the most approproiate way; health, bilogy, art, literature, history and other subjects often have unerlying sexual themes, and this is not the time for Miramonte faculty to ignore them.
Kids’ early lessons about sex can last a life time. The services of sexuality educators can be a remarkable asset for the Miramonte community as they work to support healing for their kids, families and throughout the community.
Find more at www.SexWiseParent.com