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Kristen Nichols-Besel, Curt Hinkle
Numerous studies look at the impact of sex education programs in public schools in the United States, but there is a lack of research on how private Evangelical Christian schools approach the topic. This study aimed to explore the attitudes and experiences of students, staff, and parents about sex education in Evangelical Christian schools. Using a qualitative approach, focus group interviews were conducted with separate groups of students, staff, and parents at two different Evangelical Christian schools. The semi-structured interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded. Themes emerged from the focus group interviews. The two Evangelical Christian schools in this study articulated clear beliefs and statements on sex and sexuality but sex education was often informal and teacher-dependent. Sex education resources and coverage of topics lacked depth and cohesion, which resulted in limited impact. Students, staff, and parents wanted more conversations in school on sex and sexuality but were concerned about how sex education could be delivered effectively. All stakeholder groups agreed that sex education should be taught in Christian schools. Respondents agreed that parents have the primary responsibility in the sex education of their children, but that the Christian school is a valued and trusted partner. In the end, each group believed that more time needed to be spent on sex education spread out across multiple years. The findings from this study showed students and parents were open to more sex education and described the need for a more formal approach to sex education that requires training for staff. A large-scale quantitative study of sex education practices in Christian schools would be beneficial to gain a broader perspective of what is happening across the country.
Hummel, B. J. (2023). How Do Evangelical Christian Secondary Schools Approach Sex Education? [Doctoral dissertation, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/1025