by Amara Walker, FOX 32 News reporter
CHICAGO (WFLD) -- Chicago Public Schools students get their sex education in the 5th grade, as most do in the United States, but CPS want to change that so the instruction begins at age 5.
CPS says more than half of its high school students are having sex. Cook County ranks number one in the country for sexually transmitted diseases and the U.S. has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world.
CPS says their program is a modernized sex ed program and considering the facts, it will give the youngsters tools to make healthy choices.
"I just don't think it's appropriate," says Melissa Diebold. "I don't think it's age appropriate. They have no concept of anything like that at that stage in life."
"CPS shouldn't take control of someone else's children like that with our sex education," says Mark Macklan. "That's how I feel."
Parents who are uncomfortable with the new policy will be able opt out and CPS says the curriculum will conform to each age group. For example, kindergartners through third graders will learn about their anatomy, all living things that reproduce, and appropriate and inappropriate touching. Fourth graders will focus on puberty and HIV/AIDs. It's not until after fifth grade that teachers will lead discussions about human reproduction, contraception, and abstinence.
Mikkel Nance believes sex-ed should begin at home but also welcomes schools getting involved, early on.
"He's in second grade, and we've had introductory conversation on how things work, and how body works," Nance says. "I do applaud CPS for trying to talk to children early the only concern is how they implement it, and if they involved parents in that process and if they do so they'll make that transition smoothly."
The proposed policy follows the "national sexuality education standards" put together by four health organizations. Under the new program, the district would address sexual orientation and bullying for the first time.
In other countries, like Holland, sex ed begins at 4 years old. Sexologist, Dr. Rachael Ross says it's about time for the U.S.
"The parents are kind of in denial about what's happening," Dr. Ross says. "You know, in urban populations, the average age that kids start to have sex is between 13 and 14."
Chief Health Officer of CPS Stephani Whyte will be presenting the new policy to the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday morning. The board could take a vote that same day. If approved, the sex-ed program would be fully implemented by 2016.