Comprehensive sex education is designed to teach sexual health, reproductive health, human sexual anatomy, safe sex, birth control and sexual abstinence. Consent education focuses on sexually transmitted infection (STI), pregnancy prevention, sexual identity, and the risks of sexual violence (Willis, 2019). This qualitative content analysis and survey will explore consent education in middle schools adopted in Minnesota from the past ten years. The research questions for this study are: is consent a part of sex education? How has consent been taught in 8-10 grades in Minnesota over the past 10 years? What frameworks are being used to teach consent to 8-10 grade? Parents and school administrators have opposed comprehensive education in the past in fear that students will have sex at earlier ages, increasing the rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STIs) among youth. However, students who receive comprehensive sex education are less likely to have unprotected sex, and experience lower rates of teenage pregnancy and STIs- than students who receive no sex education or abstinence-only (Planned Parenthood, 2019). Not providing this consent education withholds vital information for youth understand consent in friendships and relationships and make empowered choices. According to Willis et al., (2019) “Consent education could in principle develop the ability to identify and subsequently communicate sexual desires, which ties indirectly to communicating consent in relation to sexual acts” (p 231). The bodies of knowledge that will be used in this study are gender-based violence, K-12 education, and public health and health education. I conducted a content analysis to carry out this research and the findings from an anonymous survey. I anticipate that I will find few schools in Minnesota teaching comprehensive sex education that include consent because Minnesota is a state that typically teaches abstinence-only (Planned Parenthood, 2019).
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Gender and Women's Studies
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Parent, A. (2020). Sexual consent in middle school health education: An analysis of health education standards in Minnesota [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/1061/
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