6/27/05 Contact: David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)
Robin Salter, 334/844-4781 (rsalter@auburn.edu)


AUBURN – While the subject of sex education in the classroom sparks controversy in school systems around the country, a recent poll shows Alabamians support sex education if taught from a neutral perspective and parental permission is required.

This finding is among those of a recent Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases periodic results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

More than 4 out of 5 Alabamians, both those identified as religious and non-religious, approve of some form of sex education classes offered at the middle and high school levels. However, 75 percent of respondents believe that parental permission should be required before students are presented with sex education material.

“Parents want Alabama’s public schools to ask them first,” says poll manager Robin Salter. “It is possible many Alabamians worry that without a permission requirement, they may not even know when their children are being presented with sex education material, much less the content of that material.”

Regarding the content covered by sex education, a large majority (95-98 percent) of Alabamians support the inclusion of a wide range of topics such as STD’s, rape prevention, rape reporting and abstinence. The topic of contraception received support from 86 percent. The topic of homosexuality, which is the focus of much of the sex education controversy in Alabama and other states, received less but still significant support (72 percent) if it were taught from a neutral perspective which neither supports nor condemns any viewpoint.

Salter notes this indicates Alabama parents want to insulate their kids from partisan influence. “Parents are comfortable having the public school system provide their children with factual information on these topics, but they reserve the right to discuss with their kids their personal views and beliefs,” says Salter.

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on “Sex Education in the Classroom” can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll had a sample size of 603 resident Alabamians 19 or older, and an estimated margin of error of plus or minus four percent.