Mississippi Sex Educators' Perceptions of Youth Sexuality
Pellegrine, Sarah Elizabeth
AdvisorHagerman, Margaret Ann
CommitteeKelly, Kimberly C.
Rader, Nicole E.
School-based sexuality education (SBSE) is an important and debated part of the sexual socialization of young people in the US. While existing literature addresses the sociological implications of SBSE at the policy and curriculum-level, little was previously known about the ways instructors carried out and made sense of sex education in their classrooms. In this study, I examine the relationship between how sex education instructors make sense of sex education and their understandings of youth and sexuality. I conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with sex education teachers in Mississippi public schools and used an inductive analysis approach to determine themes from the data. I find that teachers depart from the prescribed curriculum, or go off-script, to address their functional and ideological concerns in the classroom. Where teachers translate their own ideologies about youth and sexuality into instruction, these ideologies serve to reproduce social inequality by gendering, racializing, and classing instruction.