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Using Outside Speakers to Provide Sex Education

A Toolkit for Educators and School District Administrators


All students need honest, accurate and culturally responsive sex education that provides the information they need to protect their health and make healthy choices. Many states and school districts leave decisions about how that sex education is carried out to district or even school-level staff. This can create a challenge, when a district doesn’t have enough resources, like teachers qualified to teach sex education – or also, when there is such a wide variety of options and input that choice becomes difficult. 

Sex education lessons also come with specific challenges due to the nature of the subject matter. The material under discussion is sensitive, and many young people have experienced trauma (including but not limited to racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence). Additionally, teachers may feel uncomfortable or unprepared to take on these issues. We have an obligation as educators to ensure no further harm comes to students in the classroom.

In balancing these concerns administrators, teachers, and school staff may sometimes find that an outside speaker is well-suited to deliver sex education to their students. This approach, however, is not without its own considerations and potential pitfalls. Speakers need to follow district policy, use best practices, impart medically accurate age and developmentally-appropriate information, and build skills of students to protect their health and safeguard their futures.

This toolkit is intended to help school districts as they consider working with outside speakers.

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