Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jill Grigsby

Reader 2

Carina Giorgi

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© 2015 Emily A. Horne


Since the early 20th century, students across the United States have been learning sexual education in public classrooms. Although American society has made many advancements and social changes since then, the curriculum of sexual education has remained stagnant. It continues to stress the concept of “social hygiene,” promoting white, heterosexual norms while demoralizing adolescent sexuality (McCarty-Caplan 2013). Since the 1980’s, the federal government has created three federally funded programs to promote abstinence-only sexual education. Although there are no federal laws or policies that dictate states or districts must provide sexual education, the programs have pressured the boards and districts to teach what the federal government is promoting. Most importantly, these ideologies are being pushed on to the government by the Religious Right. This study examines the attitudes towards sexual education and the attitudes towards topics that are associated with the curriculum. The findings imply that religion and political identification play the largest role in influencing these attitudes, which explains the current state of sexual education.

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Sociology Commons