A survey of some 1,600 Minnesota parents has found that most want schools to offer comprehensive sex education.
The phone survey was conducted last fall and winter by researchers in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota.
Lead investigator Dr. Marla Eisenberg said the poll revealed that more than 90 percent of parents believe that sex education should include information about pregnancy prevention as well as abstinence.
"What was most surprising for me was how consistent this level of support was across different demographic and sort of cultural groups of parents," Eisenberg said.
Eisenberg also said parents supported the courses regardless of race, religion or personal politics.
"Parents by and large wanted schools to be teaching about abstinence, of course, but to go beyond that as well and be teaching about methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections for young people who are sexually active," she said.
Eisenberg said most parents who took the survey thought sex ed courses should start in middle school.
Currently Minnesota has no statewide instruction standards for sex education and it is not required for high school graduation. Bills that would mandate sex education haven't attracted much support at the Legislature.