• Charity Center Working Together to Help Youth Make the Healthiest Choice
  • Charity Center Working Together to Help Youth Make the Healthiest Choice
  • Charity Center Working Together to Help Youth Make the Healthiest Choice
  • Charity Center Working Together to Help Youth Make the Healthiest Choice

Abstinence Works

Find Out What's Happening in Your State

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida
Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana
Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine
Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi
Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire
New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota
Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island
South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah
Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin
Wyoming Nationwide News


ALABAMA

Alabama Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Alabama Code sets minimum requirements for what must be taught in sexuality education classes. Among other things, classes must teach that:

•    Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only completely effective protection against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually; and
•    Abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage is the expected social standard for unmarried school-age persons.

The Code also states that:

•    Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should be age-appropriate;
•    Statistics used must be based on the latest medical information that indicate the degree of reliability and unreliability of various forms of contraception, while also emphasizing the increase in protection against pregnancy and protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS infection, which is afforded by the use of various contraceptive measures; and
•    Classes must emphasize, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.2

In Alabama, curriculum content is developed locally; however, the Alabama Course of Study: Health Education provides foundation for the minimum content requirements for topics such as HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and pregnancy prevention. In addition, in July 1987, the Alabama State Board of Education passed the Resolution to Provide Information to Students to Prevent the Spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Disease in the Public Schools of Alabama . This resolution specifies that students in grades 5–12 must receive instruction about AIDS through a health education program.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Alabama State Code Section 16-40A-2, the Alabama Course of Study: Health Education , and the Resolution to Provide Information to Students to Prevent the Spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Disease in the Public Schools of Alabama .

Recent News
AIM program needs community partners
“For 13 years, the AIM program has been working tirelessly, passionately to reach those “60 percent” who are most at-risk to be influenced and swayed by the increasingly negative influences of our society and, sadly, sometimes their peers.” Read the full article here.



ALASKA

Alaska Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Alaska does not have a law that governs sexuality education; therefore, schools are not required to teach sexuality or sexually transmitted disease (STD) education. However, “the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development's health education team is committed to providing teachers and school staff within the state of Alaska with current and scientifically sound research in health education and violence and disease prevention.” The Department endorses “Programs that Work,”2 a list compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and encourages schools to incorporate one or more of the recommended curricula into a “planned, sequential, comprehensive school health education program.”3

In addition, the Alaska Content Standards, Skills for a Healthy Life, states that students should, among other things:

•    Understand the physical and behavioral characteristics of human sexual development and maturity;
•    Develop an awareness of how personal life roles are affected by and contribute to the well-being of families, communities, and cultures;
•    Understand how respect for the rights of self and others contributes to relationships; and
•    Take responsible actions to create safe and healthy environments.

Alaska does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

Recent News
November 26, 2010
Gonorrhea outbreak puts Alaska in uphill battle with STD
"An outbreak of gonorrhea across Alaska that began in 2009 is continuing this year, and health officials say they are trying new ways to curb it."  Read full article.
Note: Alaska did not accept Title V Abstinence Education funds which provide strategies and skills to avoid all the risks of sexual activity, including transmission of gonorrhea.


ARIZONA

Arizona Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Arizona does not have a law that requires schools to teach sexuality education or sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV education. However, Arizona law does state that if a school chooses to teach these topics, instruction must be age-appropriate and abstinence must be stressed. Further, if a school chooses to teach HIV education, such instruction must be medically accurate, but cannot promote a “homosexual lifestyle,” portray “homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style,” or “suggest that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.” It must “promote honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.”

Arizona Administrative Code R7-2-303 states that schools may “provide a specific elective lesson or lessons concerning sex education as a supplement to the health course of study.” In order for a student to take the class, the school must have the “written request of the student's parents or guardian.” In addition, the school must:

•    Provide an alternative elective lesson;
•    Only spend a limited number of time on sex education;
•    Teach the class in gender-divided classrooms;
•    Not grade the classes, require no homework, and not retain any evaluation of the class;
•    Not include any “tests, psychological inventories, surveys, or examinations containing any questions about the student's or his parents' personal beliefs or practices in sex, family life, morality, values or religion;” and
•    Have the lessons approval of the local governing board.

The local governing board:

•    Must be representative of the district;
•    Must review all instructional materials;
•    Hold at least two public hearings on the matter; and
•    Allow all materials for this class to be viewed by the public.

Arizona's Comprehensive Health Education Standards do not include sexuality education or STD/HIV education.

Parents may remove their children from HIV/AIDS education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. However, Arizona requires written consent for any sexuality education class. This is referred to as an “opt-in” policy.

See Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 15-711, 15-716, and R7-2-303.

Recent News
February 9, 2011
Teens make creative impact on community
"Teen pregnancy, drug abuse and bullying are some of the toughest issues facing teenagers today, and a local charter school is addressing it. Students are using media to promote healthy choices. The P.A.L. program: Promoting Abstinence through Life Skills."  Read full article.


ARKANSAS

Arkansas Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Arkansas law does not require schools to teach sexuality education or sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV education. If a school offers sexuality or STD/HIV education, abstinence must be stressed.

Arkansas maintains curriculum standards for physical and health education; however, these do not include specific guidelines pertaining to the content of sexuality education courses. According to the Department of Education, course content is left to the discretion of the local school districts and varies widely from school to school. There is also no system of evaluation in place to monitor the subject matter covered in health education classes across the state.

School-based health clinics may teach sexuality education and may also prescribe and distribute contraceptives with written parental consent; however, no state funds may be used to purchase condoms or contraceptives. These school-based health clinics must maintain records of the number of condoms and other contraceptive devices distributed and prescribed, as well as the number of pregnancies and STDs in the school. This information must remain confidential. Clinics may not give information about abortions or refer students to where they might find such information.

The Arkansas Department of Health provides some sexuality education throughout the state, working predominantly in high schools and churches in rural areas with a focus on condom demonstration and distribution.

Arkansas does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See Arkansas Code 6-18-703.



CALIFORNIA

California Sexuality Education Law and Policy

California does not require schools to teach sexuality education. However, if schools do teach sexuality education, which they are permitted to do in kindergarten through the twelfth grade, they must follow certain guidelines. In addition, California schools are required to teach HIV/AIDS education to students at least once in middle school and once in high school.

California state law requires that all instruction be age-appropriate and medically accurate, which is defined as “verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with scientific methods and published in peer-reviewed journals, where appropriate, and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant field, such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ”

In addition, California law dictates that, “instruction and materials shall be appropriate for use with pupils of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and pupils with disabilities.” Instruction must also encourage parent-child communication about sexuality. From grade 7 on, all instruction must include information about abstinence while “providing medically accurate information on other methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.” This instruction must “provide information about the effectiveness and safety of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods in preventing pregnancy, including, but not limited to, emergency contraception.” Each school district must provide in-service trainings for all teachers and school employees who conduct HIV-prevention education. School districts may contract with outside consultants either to teach students or provide the in-service trainings. In addition to the California law, the state's Health Education Framework emphasizes the need to address HIV/AIDS, STDs, and pregnancy prevention and provides suggestions for curricula. In 2003, the California Department of Education also released its own guidelines and resources.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See California Education Code Sections 51930 through 51939.

 


COLORADO

Colorado Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Colorado schools are not required to teach sexuality or sexually transmitted disease (STD) education. However, Colorado law states that districts can decide whether to teach sexuality education and may address the subject in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

The Colorado Department of Education is charged with providing guidelines as to the length of courses, the subjects included, and the manner in which these subjects are addressed. The department also provides guidelines on teacher training in sexuality education that includes information about high-risk behaviors. Under Colorado law, whenever sexuality education and/or human reproduction is taught, teachers must emphasize abstinence.

Parents or guardians must be notified if a sexuality education course is taught and given an opportunity to review the curriculum. Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education or STD/HIV education classes by sending written notice to the school. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. However, if a school receives state funding to teach sexuality education, then parents and guardians must receive written notification about the topics and materials to be presented and must give permission before a student can participate in “any program discussing or teaching sexuality and human reproduction.” This is referred to as an “opt-in” policy.

See Colorado Statutes 22-25-104, 22-25-110 and 25-4-1405.

Recent News
June 1, 2013
HB 1081 Creates the comprehensive human sexuality education grant program in the department of public health and environment. The purpose of the program is to provide funding to public schools and school districts to create and implement evidence-based, medically accurate, culturally sensitive and age appropriate comprehensive human sexuality education programs. Creates the inter-agency "youth sexual health team," to function as the oversight entity of the grant program. http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/state-policies-on-sex-education-in-schools.aspx
September 17, 2010
Title V is accepted by Education Board
“The board voted 4-3 to instruct Jones to apply for some $700,000 in federal grants from the Abstinence Education Program.” Read full article.


CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Connecticut does not require schools to teach sexuality education, but does require that schools teach human growth and development and disease prevention. Connecticut law also requires that, “each local and regional board of education shall offer during the regular school day planned, ongoing and systematic instruction on acquired immune deficiency syndrome, as taught by legally qualified teachers.”

The Connecticut State Board of Education is charged with developing sexuality education curriculum guidelines that “shall include, but not be limited to, information on developing a curriculum including family planning, human sexuality, parenting, nutrition and the emotional, physical, psychological, hygienic, economic and social aspects of family life, provided the curriculum guides shall not include information pertaining to abortion as an alternative to family planning.” However, Connecticut statute also states that the instruction must be left to the discretion of the local or regional board of education.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes with written notification. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Connecticut Statutes Chapter 194 Sections 10-16b-f, and 10-19.

Recent News
August 20, 2010
Teens having sex
“A newly released survey has found that in my home state of Connecticut, a large majority of high school seniors have had sex within the past year but—and this seemed to be the headline—many of them didn’t use condoms.” Read full article.


DELAWARE

Delaware Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Delaware requires sexuality education as part of health education in kindergarten through twelfth grade. This education must be coordinated by an employee in each school district and must be overseen by a District Consolidated Application Planning Committee. The Committee must consist of teachers, parents, school nurses, community leaders, law enforcement, and other community members. Sexuality education courses must also follow the Delaware Health Education Curriculum.

Sexuality education must include an “HIV-prevention program that stresses the benefits of abstinence from high-risk behaviors.” Delaware law also sets a minimum number of hours for “comprehensive health education and family life education.” In kindergarten through grade 4, this minimum is set at 30 hours in each grade, 10 of which must be dedicated to drug/alcohol education. In grades 5 and 6, the minimum is set at of 35 hours per grade, 15 of which must be dedicated to drug/alcohol education. In grades 7 and 8, the minimum is set at 60 hours per grade, 15 of which must be dedicated to drug/alcohol education. In order to graduate, high school students must receive one-half of a credit in comprehensive health education.

Delaware does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See Delaware Administrative Code 14-851.



District of Columbia

Washington, DC Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Washington, DC regulations state that District public schools must provide comprehensive school health education, including instruction on human sexuality and reproduction. The instruction must be age-appropriate and taught in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.

This instruction must include information on the human body, intercourse, contraception, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pregnancy, abortion, childbirth, sexual orientation, decision-making skills regarding parenting and sexuality, and awareness and prevention of rape and sexual assault.

The Superintendent of District of Columbia Public Schools is charged with ensuring that sexuality education is taught in schools and that students have a minimum proficiency in this area. Accordingly, the superintendent must provide systematic teacher trainings and staff development activities for health and physical education instructors. A list of all instructional materials for student and teacher training must be included in the list of textbooks submitted annually to the District Board of Education. The Board of Education must then approve these materials.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Sections 2304 and 2305.

Recent News
October 12, 2010
A Georgetown teen's parents are upset over middle school sex survey
“Another question asked whether middle schoolers knew the difference between various sex acts or how to put on a condom.”  Read full story.



FLORIDA

Abstinence Education in Florida

Florida Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Florida law states that in order for high school students to graduate, they must receive one-half credit in “life management skills” in either ninth or tenth grade. The course must include instruction in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), family life, the benefits of sexual abstinence, and the consequences of teen pregnancy. It also states that these “descriptions for comprehensive health education shall not interfere with the local determination of appropriate curriculum which reflects local values and concerns.”

School boards may decide to allow additional instruction regarding HIV/AIDS. Such instruction may include information about “means used to control the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” All instruction and course material must:

•    Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age students while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage;
•    Emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity is a certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and other associated health problems;
•    Teach that each student has the power to control personal behavior and encourage students to base actions on reasoning, self-esteem, and respect for others; and
•    Provide instruction and material that is appropriate for the grade and age of the student.

Florida standards, titled Sunshine State Standards for Health and Physical Fitness, do not mention instruction in HIV/AIDS, STDs, or sexuality education.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from any or all of sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Florida Statute, Title XLVIII, Chapter 1003, Section 42, 46.


GEORGIA

Abstinence Education in Georgia

State law in Georgia mandates public schools teach abstinence education as part of its health curriculum. Information on STDs and HIV prevention is also required. The majority of parents in Georgia prefer abstinence education for their children. The state has a strong collaboration of abstinence organizations headed by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, formerly CYCC, which administers the Title V, Section 510 Title V Block Grant Program. Since the initiation of abstinence education in Georgia eleven years ago, pregnancy rates among teens 15-17 has fallen from 68 per 1,000 in 1994 to 36 per 1,000 in 2005, a decrease of nearly 50%. The progress Georgia has made in reducing teen childbearing saved taxpayers an estimated $227 million in 2004 alone.

Abstinence Under Attack In Georgia

Georgia Parents for Responsible Health Education (GPRHE) was formed in 2005 to support comprehensive sex education and to actively work against abstinence education in Georgia public schools. In February 2008, the Athens-Clarke County School Board voted to teach comprehensive sex education in district schools. GPRHE works closely with national anti-abstinence organizations including Planned Parenthood, ACLU and SIECUS. G-CAPP, another Georgia comprehensive sex ed program also opposes abstinence education.

Submitted by Danielle Reudt, CYCC 5/8/08

Georgia Sexuality Education Law

Since 1989, schools in Georgia have been required to teach sexuality education and sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV-prevention education. Local school boards are largely responsible for deciding the specific subjects this education must cover and the grade level in which topics are introduced. However, discussions on certain subjects are mandated by state law, including: abstinence, community values, STDs, HIV/AIDS, conception, and the legal consequences of pregnancy. No discussion of condoms or other forms of contraception is required, but such discussions are allowed. The law explains that local boards of education should set standards and that “such standards shall include instruction relating to the handling of peer pressure, the promotion of high self-esteem, local community values, the legal consequences of parenthood, and abstinence from sexual activity as an effective method of prevention of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” Local school boards are also responsible for determining what is age appropriate.

If a local school board does not have sexuality and HIV-prevention education, state funds are withheld until a program is implemented. Georgia also recommends Quality Core Curriculum Standards and Resource, which provides HIV/AIDS education resources and curricula for grades 6–12.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from all or part of sexuality and/or STD/HIV education by sending written notice to the school. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, 20-2-143.

Recent News
March 21, 2011
Court gets grant for abstinence program
"The Rockdale County Juvenile Court was recently awarded a $94,500 state grant to start an abstinence education program for its Evening Reporting Center."  Read full story.

February 21, 2011
Lower teen births with proven programs
"Let's keep doing what is right for our youth, and promote abstinence/character-building programs that have shown positive results in lowering teen pregnancy rates during the past decade."  Read full article.

December 31, 2010
Teen Pregnancy Rates Down in South Georgia and Across Nation
"Health Department staff also encourage teens to explore the resources they offer for family planning options. They say abstinence is the only sure way to not become pregnant."  Read full article.

October 20, 2010
Richmond County School Leaders Asked To Take Another Look At Sex Education Curriculum
“Supporters of the abstinence based program are pushing to have it taught in local schools and they say legal action could be taken if that doesn't happen.”  Read full article.

October 15, 2010
Superintendent denies planned parenthood partnership
"There were rumors the school system was teaming up with Planned Parenthood in a teen pregnancy prevention grant, but Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson denied that rumor, Thursday afternoon."  Read full story.

October 10, 2010
Pupils will get the wrong message about sex education
“Aspire is an excellent tool, teaching teens how to make wise decisions in all areas of their lives, including sexual involvement.”  Read full story.

September 29, 2010
Thwart comprehensive sex education
“Comprehensive sex education programs claim to promote abstinence, while indoctrinating youth in the contraceptive mentality and sexual experimentation.”  Read full article.



HAWAII

Hawaii Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Hawaii Education Policy states that, “in order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall instruct students that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.” The policy specifies that programs shall help students remain abstinent, help currently sexually active students become abstinent, and “provide youth with information on and skill development in the use of protective devices and methods for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.”

Hawaii's Health Content Standards also states that sexual health should be addressed and tells schools which content areas are to be addressed, but does not give curricula guidelines or suggest curricula and does not go into detail as to what should be discussed. Hawaii Education Policy requires that students complete a half credit in health education for graduation in elementary, middle, and high school. This does not have to include sexuality education.

Hawaii does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See Hawaii Board of Education Policies 2100 and 2110.


IDAHO

Abstinence Education in Idaho

Idaho Sexuality Education Law and Policy

In Idaho, local school boards are charged with the decision of whether or not to offer sexuality education. If a school board decides to institute sexuality education, the program must place “major emphasis” on the home, family, and church as areas of importance for learning such knowledge. Family is not defined under this statute. In addition, the program should give youth “the scientific, psychological information for understanding sex and its relation to the miracle of life.” It must also include “knowledge of the power of the sex drive and the necessity of controlling that drive by self-discipline.” School boards must include parents and community groups in all aspects of instituting and evaluating sexuality education programs. Parents or guardians wishing to excuse their children from sexuality education must file a written request to the school board. The school board will then supply the parent with necessary forms to remove the child from the class. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Idaho Statutes 33-1608, 33-1609, 33-1610, and 33-1611.


Illinois

96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2009 and 2010 HB2354
Introduced 2/19/2009, by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie - Rosemary Mulligan - Naomi D. Jakobsson - Elizabeth Coulson - Sara Feigenholtz, et al.
Sec. 3. Comprehensive Health Education Program. The program established under this Act shall include, but not be limited to, the following major educational areas as a basis
Here is an excerpt from HB2354
LRB096 09274 RPM 19428 b
1     for curricula in all elementary and secondary schools in this 
2     State: human ecology and health, human growth and development, 
3     the emotional, psychological, physiological, hygienic and 
4     social responsibilities of family life, including 
5     comprehensive sexual health education that complies with 
6     Section 30 of Reproductive Health and Access Act sexual 
7     abstinence until marriage, prevention and control of disease, 
8     including instruction in grades 6 through 12 on the prevention, 
9     transmission and spread of AIDS, sexual assault awareness in 
10     secondary schools, public and environmental health, consumer 
11     health, safety education and disaster survival, mental health 
12     and illness, personal health habits, alcohol, drug use, and 
13     abuse including the medical and legal ramifications of alcohol, 
14     drug, and tobacco use, abuse during pregnancy, sexual 
15     abstinence until marriage, tobacco, nutrition, and dental 
16     health. 



Current Illinois Sexual Education Law and Policy

The Illinois School Code states that course instruction in grades 6 through 12 must include instruction on the prevention, transmission, and spread of AIDS. Any school that teaches sexuality education must also emphasize that, “abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome when transmitted sexually.”

The Comprehensive Health Education Program, which is a component of the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act, states that the following areas must be addressed in all elementary and secondary schools:

•    Human ecology and health;
•    Human growth and development;
•    The emotional, psychological, physiological, hygienic and social responsibilities of family life, including sexual abstinence until marriage;
•    Prevention and control of disease; and
•    The transmission and spread of AIDS among others.

All courses that discuss sexual intercourse are to include the hazards of sexual intercourse, failure and success rates of condoms, and explanations of when it is unlawful for males to have sexual relations with females. Course material must also include information regarding the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act as well as provide information about responsible parenting and the availability of confidential adoption services.

If any school provides education in aspects of “family life,” then those courses must include instruction regarding alternatives to abortion. If any school district provides courses of instruction designed to promote wholesome and comprehensive understanding of “the emotional, psychological, physiological, hygienic, and social responsibility aspects of family life, then these courses will include teaching alternatives to abortion that are age-appropriate; and whenever such courses are provided in any grades 6–12, then such courses will also include instruction on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS.” School districts can also provide parenting education for grades 6–12 and include such instruction in the courses of study regularly taught.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from any or all sexuality education, family life programs and/or STD/HIV programs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See codes: 105 ILCS 110/2, 105 ILCS 110/3, 105 ILCS 5/27-9.1, 105 ILCS 5/27-9.2, 105 ILCS 27-11, and Public Act 92-0023


INDIANA

Indiana Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Indiana requires that schools teach sexuality education. This instruction must:

•    Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;
•    Include that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other associated health problems; and
•    Include that the best way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and other associated health problems is to establish a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage.

Each school must include instruction about HIV/AIDS and “integrate this effort to the extent possible with instruction on other dangerous communicable diseases.” This instruction must stress abstinence-until-marriage. School boards must also establish an AIDS advisory council, consisting of 13 people. This council must consist of “parents, students, teachers, administrators, and representatives of the state department of health” and must review all curricula and materials for HIV/AIDS instruction to ensure that they “reflect the standards of the community.” This council must also work in consultation with the Indiana Department of Health.

Furthermore, Indiana Code states that:

The state board of education shall provide information stressing the moral aspects of abstinence from sexual activity in any literature that it distributes to schoolchildren and young adults concerning available methods for the prevention of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Such literature must state that the best way to avoid AIDS is for young people to refrain from sexual activity until they are ready as adults to establish, in the context of marriage, a mutually faithful monogamous relationship.

See Indiana Code 20-10.1-4-10, 20-10.1-4-11, and 20-8.1-11-3.

Recent News
November 10, 2010
Class focus runs beyond abstinence, EVSC says
"This month Plaza Park Middle School students are being offered a sex education curriculum that stresses relationship building and abstinence."  Read full article.


IOWA

Abstinence Education in Iowa

Iowa Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Iowa mandates that health education be taught in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Iowa law details what must be included in health education by grade. In first through sixth grade, “the health curriculum shall include the characteristics of communicable diseases including acquired immune deficiency syndrome [AIDS].” In seventh and eighth grade, health education must “include the characteristics of sexually transmitted disease and acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” In ninth through twelfth grade (students must take health education at least once during these four grades), health education must include information on “the prevention and control of disease, including sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and acquired immune deficiency syndrome.”

The state does not require or suggest any particular curricula, leaving this decision to the local district. However, Iowa's educational mandate states that: “the rules of the state board shall require that a multicultural, nonsexist approach is used by schools and school districts. The educational program shall be taught from a multicultural, nonsexist approach. Global perspectives shall be incorporated into all levels of the educational program.”

Parents or guardians may remove their children from any part of health education courses if the course conflicts with the student's religious beliefs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Iowa Code 279.50, 256.11, and Iowa Administrative Code 281-12.5.

Recent News
September 13, 2010
Telling your kids about sex
“Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack has learned that discussing sex with youth requires a ‘sense of humor and storytelling.’” Read full article.


KANSAS

Kansas Sexuality Education Law and Policy

The Kansas Education Regulations require local boards of education to provide schools with a “comprehensive program in human sexuality, including information about sexually transmitted disease, especially acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).” This instruction does not have to include information about contraceptive methods. The regulation states that, “the provisions of this subsection shall not be construed as requiring, endorsing, or encouraging the establishment of school-based health clinics or the teaching of birth control methods.” The program must be taught at both the elementary and secondary levels by teachers who are certified in sexuality education. Kansas does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum; however, the Kansas Board of Education can suggest guidelines and limitations.

The Education Regulations also require local school boards to develop procedures by which parents or guardians can remove their children from any or all of these classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Kansas Administrative Regulation 91-31-20(b).

Recent News
April 12, 2011
Abstinence on the rise among teens, young adults
"They can choose," Joy Bullock, executive director for the Manhattan Pregnancy Testing Center, said. "Young people are very bright. They can have control over their own bodies. They're not wild animals who don't have any ability to make decisions or be in control."  Read full article.

December 21, 2010
Kansas school board member talks abstinence
"During the board's December meeting in Topeka, Kathy Martin, a Republican from Clay Center, asked her fellow board members to not support the Kansas State Department of Education's monetary contribution to an annual HIV/AIDS conference unless there is a balance of abstinence information provided at the event."  Read full article.

September 23, 2010
Condoms, birth control prove less effective than simple abstinence
“Jeannie Gross, assistant director at Life Choice Ministries pregnancy testing center, said the best way to avoid pregnancy is to "not to put yourself in situations where you'll be vulnerable both emotionally and physically and engage in behavior that could lead to pregnancy." Read full article.


KENTUCKY

Abstinence Education in Kentucky

Kentucky Sexuality Education Law and Policy

All Kentucky schools follow the Department of Education's Program of Studies, required instruction for students in grades six through twelve. Instruction about human sexuality must focus on abstinence as the only sure means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. No specific curriculum is required. However, state funds are available for local health departments to use to help young people postpone sexual involvement.

Kentucky does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See Kentucky Department of Education's Program of Studies.


LOUISIANA

Louisiana Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Louisiana does not require schools to offer sexuality or sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV education, but schools are permitted to offer it after sixth grade. State law mandates that sexuality education cannot be offered in kindergarten through sixth grade, except in Orleans Parish, which may offer sexuality education in the third grade and above. Schools must provide this education, “regardless of the student's grade level” if the student is parenting or pregnant.

Louisiana law defines sexuality education as:

[T]he dissemination of factual biological or pathological information that is related to the human reproduction system and may include the study of sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, childbirth, puberty, menstruation, and menopause, as well as the dissemination of factual information about parental responsibilities under the child support laws of the state.

The education must be integrated into “an existing course study such as biology, science, physical hygiene, or physical education.” It cannot include “religious beliefs, practices in human sexuality, nor the subjective moral and ethical judgments of the instructor or other persons. Students shall not be tested, quizzed, or surveyed about their personal or family beliefs or practices in sex, morality, or religion.”

Classes may not include “any sexually explicit materials depicting male or female homosexual activity.” They also may not in “any way counsel or advocate abortion.” In addition, this education must emphasize that:

•    abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children;
•    abstinence from sexual activity is a way to avoid unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and other associated health problems; and
•    each student has the power to control personal behavior and to encourage students to base action on reasoning, self-esteem, and respect for others.

HIV/AIDS education may be included in sexuality education or in a separate class. This class “must be structured and limited so as not to constitute sex education.” Selection of teachers for HIV/AIDS education classes may only be made by the local school board. All curricula and materials used must be reviewed by a parental review committee that is appointed by the school board.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Louisiana Revised Statute 17:281.


MAINE

Maine Sexuality Education Law and Policy
Maine's sexuality education law is one of the most comprehensive in the country; it mandates that the state “undertake initiatives to implement effective, comprehensive family life education services.” The state must provide:
•    Training for teachers, parents, and community members;
•    Forums among youth and community members in communities with a high need for sexuality education;
•    Staff to provide trainings, develop curricula, and evaluate the program;
•    Funding for issue management and policy development training for school boards, superintendents, principals, and administrators; and
•    Funding for programs that have shown outstanding work around sexuality education.

“Comprehensive family life education” must be taught in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The information provided must be medically accurate and age-appropriate, and must respect community values and encourage parent-child communication. Programs must teach about abstinence, healthy relationships, contraception, and conflict resolution. No specific curriculum is mandated.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, Chapter 406, Sections 1902, 1910 and 1911.


Maryland

Maryland Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Maryland education code requires each local school board to work with the county health department in establishing a school health education program with a number of specified goals. Sexuality education falls under Goal F, which is designed to help students “recognize the family as a basic unit of society that perpetuates life and promotes healthy growth and development.” Under Goal F, schools must help students “develop and use skills for making responsible decisions about sexual behavior based on its consequences for the individual and others” and “develop and use skills for making responsible decisions about family planning and preventing pregnancy.” Goal F also includes teaching students about “[a] variety of family structures and roles of family members,” “male and female roles in American society,” “sexual variations,” “contraception,” and “family planning.”

Maryland education code requires that health education classes be taught in kindergarten through twelfth grade, in mixed gender groups. It also directs when certain topics may and may not be addressed. For example, the code says, “direct teaching of human reproduction may not begin earlier than age 10 or later than age 12.” Regulations also state that an elective sexuality education course must be offered in middle and high schools. This course must be designed with an appointed citizen advisory committee that broadly represents the views of the community and cover a number of topics including contraception, family planning, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The code states that teachers of sexuality education classes may have additional preparation for this class and that if a teacher feels “inadequate or uncomfortable” with the class, he/she does not have to teach it. Maryland State Regulations also mandate that “local school systems shall provide annual instruction in AIDS to all students at least once in grades three to six, six to nine, and nine to twelve.” Each local school board determines the actual grade.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from any or all sexuality education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. The elective courses offered in middle and high schools require parental permission in order for a student to participate, this is known as an “opt-in” policy.

See Maryland Regulations 13A.04.18.02, 13A.04.18.03, and 13A.04.18.04.


Massachusetts

Massachusetts Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Massachusetts does not require sexuality education and instead allows local school boards to make such decisions. In 1990, the Massachusetts Board of Education approved a policy that:

[U]rges local school districts to create programs which make instruction about AIDS/HIV available to every Massachusetts student at every grade level. These programs should be developed in a manner which respects local control over education and involves parents and representatives of the community. The Board believes that AIDS/HIV prevention education is most effective when integrated into a comprehensive health education and human services program.

In addition, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Framework suggests curricula for schools.

If a community decides to implement sexuality education, it must develop standards with the guidance of community stakeholders, including parents, students, teachers, counseling professionals, health professionals, representatives of local religious groups, and representatives of local social service and health agencies. In addition, the program must be taught in kindergarten through twelfth grade; must discuss HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, family violence, sound health practices; and must “define sexual orientation using the correct terminology (such as heterosexual and gay and lesbian).”

The school district must also ensure that parents and/or guardians receive notification about the sexuality education policy. Parents may remove their children from any or all of this instruction. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See General Laws of Massachusetts, Title XII, Chapter 69 Section 1L; Chapter 71, Section 1, Section 32A, and Section 38O; and Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Framework.

Recent News
March 24, 2011
Sex ed wrong rite of spring
Indeed, when specifically asked why the school presents lessons on HIV in the third grade, rather than in middle school, one school administrator made this shocking admission: “The goal is to reach kids before they absorb their parents’s values. By middle school it’s too late.” Read full article.

January 28, 2011
Weston PTO learns about sexuality curriculum at High School
"The most effective programs at preventing teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other physical and emotional crises are those that combine a strong abstinence message with accurate information about sexual activity and its consequences."  Read full article.

December 30, 2010
Needham Schools to revise sex education program
"One way Pinkham hopes to change the curriculum is by introducing discussions on new media technologies and related topics such as cyber bullying, texting, and the proper way to behave online."  Read full article.

November 30, 2010
Push to overhaul sex ed in Boston schools
"Mobilizing against Acevedo's efforts are groups focused on abstinence-only education. Chris Pham with Pure in Heart says giving teens free condoms sends the message of implicit approval of premarital sex."  Read full article.


MICHIGAN

Abstinence Education in Michigan

Generally, MI seems to be supportive of abstinence education.  Across the state are lots of collaborative relationships between schools, abstinence programs, pregnancy centers, and other youth organizations.  All of which believe that youth can make positive choices for themselves and deserve to hear the truth about the dangers and consequences of engaging in sex before marriage.  Certainly there are challenges in MI including the media (which the vast majority of the time only showcase negative ads, reports, etc on abstinence education).  Many programs have tried different strategies in terms of trying to get a more balanced perspective shown in the media, but without much success.  Also, we have a strong abstinence opponent in John Dingell in the Detroit area who continues to advocate for the end of funding for abstinence education.  However, we also have a strong abstinence proponent in Rep. Hoekstra.

Submitted by Sara Keeler 5/2/08

Michigan Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Michigan does not require schools to teach sexuality education; however, the state does require schools to provide sexually transmitted disease (STD) and HIV/AIDS education. STD/HIV education must include “the teaching of abstinence from sex as a responsible method for restriction and prevention of these diseases and as a positive lifestyle for unmarried young people.”

Schools may also offer sexuality education classes, which cover family planning, human sexuality, and family life education. As with STD/HIV education, abstinence must be included as “a responsible method of preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease and as a positive lifestyle for unmarried young people.” Sexuality education classes must be offered as an elective and may not be required for graduation.

All sexuality education and HIV/AIDS classes must be taught by teachers qualified to teach health education. All teachers of STD/HIV education who are not licensed healthcare professionals must be trained in HIV/AIDS education by the Department of Education.

School boards must establish an advisory board to review all materials and curricula. This advisory board must include parents, students, educators, clergy, and health professionals. Each school district must also appoint a sexuality education program supervisor; this person must be approved by the state.

The law further states that all instruction in reproductive health “shall be supervised by a registered physician, a registered nurse, or other person certified by the state board as qualified.” Reproductive health is defined as, “the state of an individual's well-being which involves the reproductive system and its physiological, psychological, and endocronological functions.” Abortion “shall not be considered a method of family planning, nor shall abortion be taught as a method of reproductive health.” All curricula must be approved by the local school board and if any changes are made, the local school board must hold at least two public hearings on the revisions.

The Michigan Board of Education has also produced a non-binding Policy on Comprehensive School Health Education. This policy calls for a “focus on behaviors that have the greatest effect on health, especially those related to…sexual behaviors that lead to HIV, sexually transmitted disease, or unintended pregnancy, emphasizing their short-term and long-term consequences.” In addition, the Michigan Board of Education has adopted the Policy to Promote Health and Prevent Disease and Pregnancy. This policy states that sexuality education programs be age, developmentally, and culturally appropriate as well as medically accurate and based on effective programming.

Parents must receive notification of any sexuality education classes and be allowed to review the content of the sexuality education class. Parents or guardians may remove their children from any part of the STD/HIV instruction if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Michigan School Code Sections 380.1169, 380.1170, 380.1506, and 380.1507 and Michigan Public Law 165 and 166.

Recent News
January 11, 2011
Sex education in Michigan schools
"School districts within the State are required to teach about communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and instructions in communicable diseases must be offered at least once a year at the elementary, middle/junior, and senior high level."  Read full article.


MINNESOTA

Minnesota Sexuality Education Law and Policy

In 1988, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill requiring school districts to develop and implement a comprehensive HIV/AIDS-prevention and risk-reduction program. In 1999, the law was amended to include instruction on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and “helping students to abstain from sexual activity until marriage.”

While the state has not developed a specific curriculum framework or set of standards, each school district must have “a comprehensive, technically accurate, and updated curriculum that includes helping students to abstain from sexual activity until marriage” and must target “adolescents, especially those who may be at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and diseases, for prevention efforts.”

Minnesota also requires each school district to:

[H]ave a procedure for a parent, guardian, or an adult student, 18 years of age or older, to review the content of the instructional materials to be provided to a minor child or to an adult student and, if the parent, guardian, or adult student objects to the content, to make reasonable arrangements with school personnel for alternative instruction.

This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Minnesota Statutes 120B.20 and 121A.23.


MISSISSIPPI

Abstinence Education in Mississippi

Mississippi is very friendly to the issue of abstinence education. State laws protect the teaching of the A-H guidelines established by the federal government for funding abstinence education. MS will soon hold a Teen Summit conference for abstinence education. Lawmakers at both the state and federal level are generally supportive of the issue.

Submitted by Larry McAdoo 5/8/08

Mississippi Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Mississippi schools are not required to teach sexuality education or sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV education. If schools choose to teach either or both forms of education, they must stress abstinence-until-marriage, including “the likely negative psychological and physical effects of not abstaining” and “that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage, and fidelity within marriage, is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases and related health problems.” In addition, monogamous heterosexual relationships must be presented as the only appropriate place for sexual intercourse. Mississippi's Comprehensive Health Framework includes education on the prevention of STDs, including HIV for ninth through twelfth grades.

Local school boards must authorize sexuality education instruction and each school must be in compliance with local regulations. If the school board authorizes the teaching of contraception, state law dictates that the failure rates and risks of each contraceptive method must be included and “in no case shall the instruction or program include any demonstration of how condoms or other contraceptives are applied.” Each school board must also appoint a health education council that makes recommendations for health education curriculum.

The Department of Health must implement a “Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program” in districts with the highest number of teen pregnancies. Such programs are coordinated through the school nurse and include education on abstinence, reproductive health, teen pregnancy, and STDs. Mississippi sexuality education law also dictates that if homosexuality is taught, it must be presented as “unnatural and dangerous” and be discussed within the context of Mississippi's law outlawing sodomy.2

Parents or guardians must be notified of any sexuality education instruction and have the ability to remove their children from any or all sexuality education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Mississippi Education Code 37-13-171, 41-79-5, and Comprehensive Health Framework.

Recent News
December 22, 2010
Boys & Girls Club teaching abstinence, morals, but in need itself
"Keeping kids safe from negative influences like drugs, alcohol and crime is an aim of the Boys & Girls Club, but lack of funding may put children back on the streets."  Read full article.


MISSOURI

Missouri Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Missouri law does not mandate sexuality education; however, in order to be accredited, school districts must teach HIV/AIDS-prevention education in elementary and middle school.

All instruction in human sexuality must be medically and factually accurate. It must also:

[P]resent abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils because it is the only method that is one hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity, and advise students that teenage sexual activity places them at a higher risk of dropping out of school because of the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy.

Instruction must also:

[P]resent students with the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and STDs [and teach students not to make] unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances or otherwise exploit another person.

Although school districts are not required to follow it, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education produced the Missouri Framework for Curriculum Development in Health Education and Physical Education. This Framework includes instructional guidelines for HIV/AIDS- and STD-prevention education starting at the high school level. School boards must determine the specific content of sexuality education classes and make sure that it is age-appropriate.

The school district must also notify parents and guardians about:

•    The basic content of the district's human sexuality instruction to be provided to the student; and
•    The parent's right to remove the student from any part of the district's human sexuality instruction.

This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Missouri Revised Statute 170.015, Missouri's HIV Prevention Education Program ¸ and Missouri Framework for Curriculum Development in Health Education and Physical Education.2


MONTANA

Montana Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Montana's public education system is supervised by the Montana Board of Public Education, which sets standards for curricula in public schools. According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the Board of Public Education requires a “health enhancement” program, one component of which is sexuality education, including information about HIV/AIDS. The Board of Public Education also has a position statement that states, “all Montana school districts are strongly encouraged to develop appropriate communicable disease policies that specifically include HIV and AIDS, and which address age-appropriate education, rights and accommodations of students and staff who are infected, and safety procedures.”

Due to the autonomous nature of Montana school districts, standards for the sexuality education portion of the health enhancement program are not defined. Furthermore, there is no oversight of what is being taught or who is teaching these classes. As long as schools believe that they are meeting the requirements, the Montana Board of Public Education considers them fulfilled.

Parents and/or guardians must receive notification that their child will be attending the “health enhancement” programs. Each school district sets its own procedures for how a parent or guardian can excuse a child from a class. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. However, if a parent or guardian does choose to remove his/her child from class, he/she must agree to provide alternative instruction.

See Montana Administrative Rules 10.54.7011, 7012 and 7013, 10.54.2501, and 10.55.905 and Montana Board of Public Education's Position Statement on HIV/AIDS.

Recent News
February 15, 2011
Bill would add parental control to sex education
"Rep. Cary Smith, R-Billings, introduced HB456 to the Education Committee Monday afternoon. The bill would allow for parental control over whether students participate in courses that teach human sexual education."  Read full article.

November 5, 2010
Promote Sexual Restraint
"When promiscuity is not tolerated in our culture it will not be in the movies. Parents need to stand up and, for the sake of their children, just say no to progressive sex education in our schools."  Read full article.

September 29, 2010
Sex-ed debate continues in Helena
“After over 7,000 written comments and much debate, the Helena School District released a revised proposal, changing several parts of the sex-education portion of the curriculum.”  Read full article.


NEBRASKA

Abstinence Education in Nebraska

Nebraska Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Nebraska law does not require sexuality education; indeed, it explicitly states that this is a matter of local control. Nebraska does not limit or prescribe what can be taught in such classes nor does it recommend a specific curriculum. However, in its Nebraska Health Education Frameworks, the Nebraska Department of Education does recommend that schools emphasize an abstinence approach, including telling students that “sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”

Nebraska does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See the Nebraska Health Education Frameworks.

Recent News
September 20, 2010
Sex has a price: Sunday night speaker delivers straight talk on serious conquences
“No matter what other excuse they may offer, several hundred teenagers from Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas will no longer be able to say, "Nobody told me," after Sunday night's "Sex Still Has a Price Tag" presentation at Memorial Auditorium by author and speaker Pam Stenzel.” Read full article.


NEVADA

Nevada Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Nevada mandates that each school district's board of trustees must “establish a course or unit of a course of: (a) Factual instruction concerning Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome [AIDS]; and (b) Instruction on the human reproductive system, related communicable diseases and sexual responsibility.” Such classes cannot be a requirement for graduation. Furthermore, each board of trustees must appoint an advisory committee consisting of five parents with children in the school district and four representatives from medicine, counseling, religion, students, or teaching.

Nevada law also mandates that:

The parent or guardian of each pupil to whom a course is offered must first be furnished written notice that the course will be offered. The notice must be given in the usual manner used by the local district to transmit written material to parents, and must contain a form for the signature of the parent or guardian of the pupil consenting to his attendance. Upon receipt of the written consent of the parent or guardian, the pupil may attend the course. If the written consent of the parent or guardian is not received, he must be excused from such attendance without any penalty as to credits or academic standing.

This is referred to as an “opt-in” policy.

See Nevada Revised Statutes 389.065.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire Sexuality Education Law and Policy

In New Hampshire, local school boards must ensure that a health education program is developed in elementary, middle/junior, and high schools. In elementary schools, this program must include “the effects of drugs, alcohol, venereal diseases, and AIDS on the human body.” In middle/junior high and high schools, this instruction must include the above as well as “systematic classroom instruction and activities designed to enable students to respect and support the decisions of others relative to abstinence from sexual activity.” Students must complete one-quarter credit in health education including instruction in venereal diseases and AIDS.

No curriculum is recommended by the state nor does the state have limitations on what may or may not be included in instruction.

New Hampshire does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See New Hampshire Rule 306.40.


NEW JERSEY

Abstinence Education in New Jersey

After receiving federal Title V funding for 9 years, the Governor, the NJ Department of Health and Department of Education decided that NJ will no longer accept abstinence funding from the federal government. This decision was made without consideration to the fine programs that were successfully running with document results from evaluation done through Montclair State University.

NJ is not, and has never been open or friendly to an abstinence message for teens.  The promotion of condoms and "alternative behaviors" is what has been supported through state health dollars.  Currently, Teen PEP, a graphic adolescent program is running in over 50 public schools with grant funding and training through NJ DOH.

Submitted by Peggy Cowan 5/2/08

New Jersey Sexuality Education Law and Policy

New Jersey law mandates at least 150 minutes of health education during each school week in grades one through twelve. In addition, high school students must acquire 3 ¾ credits of health education each year. School districts must align their health education curricula with the New Jersey Department of Education's Core Curriculum Content Standards.

One of the four required health education standards, Standard 2.4:Human Relationships and Sexuality, addresses three subject areas: relationships, sexuality, and pregnancy and parenting. Learning expectations within Standard 2.4 focus on abstinence and helping students to identify and address internal and external pressures to become sexually active. Standard 2.4 also mandates that instruction in middle and high school classes address the use of contraceptive methods and risk reduction strategies as well as the implications of their use. Standard 2.4 also requires including information about sexual orientation. In addition to Standard 2.4, sexuality related information is also included in Standard 2.1: Wellness and Standard 2.3: Drugs and Medicines. Standard 2.1 includes sexually transmitted disease (STD)- and HIV/AIDS-prevention education, and Standard 2.3 addresses the impact of alcohol and drug use on the incidence of sexual assault, STDs, and unintended pregnancy.

In addition, the New Jersey Comprehensive Health Education and Physical Education Curriculum, put out by the New Jersey Department of Education, includes detailed suggestions for teaching about HIV/AIDS, STDs, and teen pregnancy prevention.

State law also requires that:

Any instruction concerning the use of contraceptives or prophylactics such as condoms shall also include information on their failure rates for preventing pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases in actual use among adolescent populations and shall clearly explain the difference between risk reduction through the use of such devices and risk elimination through abstinence.

New Jersey allows parents or guardians to remove their children from any or all parts of sexuality, STD-prevention, and HIV/AIDS-prevention education or any topic that conflicts with their “sincerely held beliefs.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. Local boards of education must establish procedures by which students may be removed from class, and alternative assignments must be created.

See New Jersey Statutes Amended 18A:35-4.7, 18A:35-4.20, and 18A:35-4.21; New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:8-3.1; and New Jersey Comprehensive Health Education and Physical Education Curriculum.

Recent News
October 22, 2010
Fitting Antidote to permissive Society
“Abstinence programs may be the only time many young people hear an alternate message.”  Read full article.

September 30, 2010
Having a discussion about abstinence
“So often we encourage our young to think about abstinence but our logic seems to take a different path with regard to promoting "safe sex" than it would in promoting ‘safe driving.’”  Read full article.


NEW MEXICO

New Mexico Sexuality Education Law and Policy

New Mexico does not mandate that schools teach sexuality education; however, it does mandate that schools “provide instruction about AIDS and related issues in the curriculum of the required Comprehensive Health Education Program.” This instruction must include “ways to reduce the risk of getting AIDS, stressing abstinence” and must be taught to all students in all grades. Outcomes of such instruction should include the “ability to demonstrate refusal skills, overcome peer pressure, and use decision-making skills.”

Educational materials and the grade levels at which they will be introduced are determined by local school districts. All instruction must be age appropriate. Local school boards must “insure the involvement of parents, staff, and students in the development of polices and the review of instructional materials.” The state neither suggests curriculum nor limits what may or may not be included in sexuality education instruction.

New Mexico does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See New Mexico Administrative Code 6.12.3.9.

Recent News
November 30, 2010
Condoms In School Clinics Spark Debate
"APS parent Marcie May said she doesn't want condoms near the classrooms at her children's schools, especially when kids can get contraceptives without parents knowing."  Read full article.

September 20, 2010
New Mexico: Public Misled on Condoms?
“‘The public has been misled to believe by too many public health officials that condoms equal safe sex,’ Robbins said.” Read full article.


NEW YORK

Abstinence Education in New York

In 2007, then-Governor Elliot Spitzer (D) rejected Title V funds for New York. The 2008 election will be very important for abstinence education – a major change could result in weakened support. New York state lawmakers are considering the Healthy Teens Act, which is a bill that would require comprehensive sex education, be taught in all public schools.

There is currently no state coalition to support abstinence.

Attacks

New York Civil Liberties is very organized and a very harsh critic. 
There is currently no state coalition to support abstinence. 
Submitted by John Margand 5/8/08

New York Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Health education is required for all students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in New York. This instruction must provide information about HIV/AIDS, including how to prevent its transmission. Health education is taught by classroom teachers in kindergarten through sixth grade and by certified health teachers in grades seven through twelve. In grades seven through twelve, health education must be a separate one-half year course.

All HIV/AIDS education must “provide accurate information to pupils concerning the nature of the disease, methods of transmission, and methods of prevention.” This instruction must be age-appropriate and consistent with community values and “shall stress abstinence as the most appropriate and effective premarital protection against AIDS.”

Each local school board must establish an advisory council to make recommendations on HIV/AIDS instruction. The state does not require or suggest a specific curriculum, but does have the Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences, which provides a curriculum framework. The framework does not specifically mention sexuality education though certain areas of sexuality education are implied.

Parents may exempt their children from HIV/AIDS classes as long as the school is given “assurance that the pupil will receive such instruction at home.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. 

See New York Commissioner's Regulations 135.3 and Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences.

Recent News
April 7, 2011
Kathleen’s Story: Abstinence taught to Niagara Falls teens
“I tell them, ‘You know what? I know it sounds old fashioned, but it’s OK to be a virgin,’ ” she said. “This way you don't have to worry about missing a period, or whether you have a bump or a lump. Why add stress to your lives?'" Read full article.

January 28, 2011
Abstinence Bingo starts conversations at Naples High School
"Making a game of the topic can get people talking, though. Abstinence Bingo was that conversation-starter during a recent Naples High School health class."  Read full article.

January 7, 2011
Rush Limbaugh addressed the 41% abortion rate among all pregnancies in New York City in a recent show. He suggested that abstinence education is the best way to avoid the risks associated with sex, including pregnancy. Listen here.


NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina Sexuality Education Law and Policy

North Carolina schools are required to teach sexuality, HIV, and sexually transmitted disease (STD) education. Schools must stress the importance of abstinence and students must be taught refusal skills and strategies to handle peer pressure. Curricula must teach that a “mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding diseases transmitted by sexual contact,” including HIV/AIDS.

The law states:

Any instruction concerning the causes of sexually transmitted diseases, including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in cases where homosexual acts are a significant means of transmission, shall include the legal status of those acts.2
In addition, the law states that:

Students may receive information about where to obtain contraceptives and abortion referral services only in accordance with a local board's policy regarding parental consent. Any instruction concerning the use of contraceptives or prophylactics shall provide accurate statistical information on their effectiveness and failure rates for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in actual use among adolescent populations and shall explain clearly the difference between risk reduction and risk elimination through abstinence. Contraceptives, including condoms and other devices, shall not be made available or distributed on school property.

The North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction provides several different areas of guidance for schools, including two documents on abstinence programs ¾ Components of a Strong School HIV Policy, Healthful Living Education and Communicable Diseases-Students ¾ and a textbook catalogue. These documents offer model policies, suggested curricula, and content outlines. However, school districts make the ultimate decision on what the education looks like in the classroom and, if a public hearing is held, school districts can provide a more comprehensive program. Each school district must also establish a school health advisory council.

North Carolina law states that, “local boards of education shall adopt policies to provide opportunities either for parents and legal guardians to consent or for parents and legal guardians to withhold their consent to the students' participation in any or all of these programs.” This is referred to as either an “opt-in” or “opt-out” policy.

See North Carolina General Statute 115C-81.


NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota Sexuality Education Law and Policy

North Dakota does not mandate sexuality education nor does it address what can or cannot be taught in sexuality education classes. The state also does not have a suggested curriculum.

North Dakota does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes

Recent News
March 27, 2011
Is everybody really doing it? BHS students talk about abstinence
"Being abstinent means being that one special person for someone," Bismarck High School senior Erinn Dosch said. "You can say you waited for them, and I think that's a really cool thing." Read full article.

March 28, 2011
Senate OKs bill promoting abstinence in sex education
"An amendment introduced by Sen. Larry Luick, R-Fairmont, rewrote the bill, requiring schools to 'explain why abstinence from sexual activity until marriage provides safety from sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and other associated health issues.'" Read full article.


OHIO

Abstinence Education in Ohio

In 2007, Governor Ted Strickland (D) rejected Title V dollars for the State of Ohio. Hundreds of abstinence education supporters rallied at the State Capitol in a Voice Your Choice campaign to support abstinence education, but the Governor, in spite of an outpouring of abstinence supporters, has not yet changed his mind. There are many abstinence champions who are state lawmakers, but the 2008 election could be unfavorable to abstinence if those leaders are not re-elected. The Governor’s rejection of Title V brought attention to abstinence education, and resulted in increased media coverage of the topic which was usually fair.

The Ohio Federation of Abstinence Education (OFAE) is a strong network of abstinence supporters across the state.

Attacks:

Planned Parenthood led the charge to have Title V state funds denied, and recently held a Legislative Education day at OH’s State Capitol.

Ohio Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Ohio does not require schools to teach sexuality education. However, the board of education of each school district must establish a health curriculum for “all schools under their control” that includes information regarding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS. This information must emphasize that, “abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is one hundred percent effective against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and the sexual transmission of a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.” Further, all materials and instruction regarding STDs must:

•    Stress that students should abstain from sexual activity until after marriage;
•    Teach the potential physical, psychological, emotional, and social side effects of participating in sexual activity outside of marriage;
•    Teach that conceiving children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society;
•    Stress that sexually transmitted diseases are serious possible hazards of sexual activity;
•    Advise students of the laws pertaining to financial responsibility of parents to children born in and out of wedlock; and
•    Advise students of the circumstances under which it is criminal to have sexual contact with a person under the age of sixteen pursuant to section 2907.04 of the Revised Code.
These points closely mirror the federal definition of “abstinence education.”

Upon written request of a parent or guardian, a student can be excused from taking any or all of this instruction. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. 

See Ohio Revised Code Sections 3313.60, 3313.60.11, and 3301-80-01.

Recent News
October 15, 2010
Recovery Center web site offers abstinence, pregnancy prevention information
"Young people looking for information about abstinence, preventing teen pregnancy and preventing sexually transmitted diseases can visit a new web site and qualify for a chance to win a prize."  Read full story.

September 13, 2010
School board approves new sex education curriculum
“Cleveland County school board members on Monday approved a more comprehensive sex education curriculum that will make its way to classrooms this year.” Read full article.


OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Oklahoma does not require schools to teach sexuality education. However, the state Departments of Education and Health must develop curricula and materials and keep them current. If a school district chooses to teach sexuality education, all curricula and materials must be approved for medical accuracy by the state and by the district superintendent. All materials must also be available to parents for review. Each public school must establish an advisory committee to make recommendations regarding health education. In addition, all sexuality education classes must have as one of their primary purposes “the teaching of or informing students about the practice of abstinence.”

Schools are required to provide HIV/AIDS-prevention education. This education must be limited to the “discussion of the disease AIDS and its spread and prevention.” The class must be taught once during either grade 5 or 6, once during grades 7 through 9, and once during grades 10 through 12. All curricula and materials must be checked for medical accuracy by the Oklahoma Department of Health and must only include “factual medical information for AIDS prevention.” HIV/AIDS education must specifically teach that:

•    Engaging in homosexual activity, promiscuous sexual activity, intravenous drug use or contact with contaminated blood products is now known to be primarily responsible for contact with the AIDS virus;
•    Artificial means of birth control are not a certain means of preventing the spread of the AIDS virus and reliance on such methods puts a person at risk for exposure to the disease;
•    Avoiding the activities specified in paragraph 1 of this subsection is the only method of preventing the spread of the virus; and
•    Sexual intercourse, with or without condoms, with any person testing positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies, or any other person infected with HIV, places that individual in a high risk category for developing AIDS.

In addition, the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) Integrated Curriculum: Health, Safety, and Physical Education includes standards for HIV/AIDS education in seventh through twelfth grades. These standards outline that instruction must:

•    Investigate and examine current information about HIV/AIDS in order to differentiate related facts, opinions, and myths;
•    Examine and identify the importance of sexual abstinence in adolescent relationships;
•    Demonstrate refusal skills (saying “no”), negotiation skills and peer resistance skills related to sexual health;
•    Analyze the transmission and methods of prevention for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV;
•    Identify risk behaviors and situations involving possible exposure to HIV;
•    Examine the relationships between injecting drug use (IDU) and contact with contaminated blood products and the transmission of HIV; and
•    Analyze the efficiency of artificial means of birth control in preventing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

A school district must provide written notification of all sexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention classes. Parents or guardians can submit written notification if they do not want their children to participate in such classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Oklahoma Statutes 70-11-103.3 and 70-11-105.1 and the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) Integrated Curriculum: Health, Safety, and Physical Education.

Recent News
September 19, 2010
Ex-NBA star beams message of hope
“Green, who made the NBA All-Star team in 1990, used his speech to promote abstinence. He remained celibate until he married after his basketball career.” Read full article.

September 30, 2010
Program promotes sexual abstinence in boys
“Moss, the main speaker, used a combination of straight, sometimes blunt, talk and videos produced by Bluefish TV, to drive home his message.”  Read full article.


OREGON

Oregon Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Oregon does not mandate sexuality education. However, Oregon does require instruction in STDs, including HIV/AIDS, in grades sixth through twelve. Oregon does not suggest or recommend a curriculum; however, Oregon statutes state that when sexuality education courses are taught they must:

•    Be age-appropriate;
•    Enhance students' understanding of sexuality as a normal and healthy aspect of human development;
•    Include information about how responsible sexual behavior reduces the risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV, and pregnancy;
•    Teach about abstinence, but not to the exclusion of other material and instruction on contraception and disease reduction measures;
•    Acknowledge the value of abstinence while not devaluing or ignoring those young people who have had or are having sexual intercourse;
•    Provide the latest medical information regarding the success and failure rates of all forms of contraception;
•    Validate through course material and instruction the importance of honesty with oneself and others, respect for each person's dignity and well-being, and responsibility for one's actions; and
•    Encourage family communication.

In 2002, the Oregon State Board of Education unanimously voted to revise the Oregon Administrative Rule focusing on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C. The rule is now more focused on educational efforts and states:

•    Each school district shall teach an age-appropriate plan of instruction focusing on infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C as an integral part of health education and other subjects;
•    Instruction must occur through elementary, middle, and senior grade levels;
•    Instruction must occur on at least an annual basis and include the latest scientific information;
•    Curricula must include information about abstinence, contraception, and other disease reduction measures; and
•    Instruction must be culturally and gender sensitive.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from sexuality education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

For more information, see Oregon Statutes 336.35, 336.455, and 336.465 Oregon State Board of Education. Oregon Administrative Rules 581-022-1210 and 581-022-1440, Revised October 17th, 2002: Infectious Diseases Including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Hepatitis B and C.


PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Schools in Pennsylvania are not required to teach sexuality education. Primary, intermediate, middle, and high schools are, however, required to teach sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV education. Schools must use materials that are age-appropriate, discuss prevention, and stress abstinence as “the only completely reliable means of preventing sexual transmission.”

The state has created the Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education, which include STD- and HIV-prevention education. All decisions regarding HIV-prevention curricula and materials must be made by local school districts. School districts do not have to follow specific curriculum, but they must use these standards as a framework for the development of their curriculum.

School districts must publicize the fact that parents and guardians can review all curriculum materials. Parents and guardians whose principles or religious beliefs conflict with instruction may excuse their children from the programs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Pennsylvania Code Title 22, Chapter 4, Section 29 and the Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education.

Recent News
January 9, 2011
Downingtown won't use controversial sex-ed program
"After meeting with all of the district's eighth-grade physical education teachers and having them vote on what program they wanted to use to teach healthy relationships, or sexual education, the teachers decided to teach it themselves using the district's current textbook, said Marcy Hessinger, chief academic officer for the district."  Read full article.

February 11, 2011
Abstinence group now allowed at safe-sex fairs at Pitt - Students had been told not to assemble
"The pact came after the pro-chastity Pittsburgh Anscombe Society was told Monday it could not hand out literature in a dorm lobby near a safe-sex expo sponsored by PantherWELL, a peer health education program based in the student health center.  The reasons cited were that the newly formed society is not yet a recognized student group and that handing out literature in the lobby would impede traffic."  Read full article.


RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Rhode Island schools are required to provide “accurate information and instruction” on sexuality, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Schools must also teach “ the responsibilities of family membership and adulthood, including issues related to reproduction, abstinence, dating, marriage, and parenthood as well as information about sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality and lifestyles.” These classes must stress abstinence.

In addition, the state department of elementary and secondary education must “establish comprehensive AIDS instruction, which shall provide students with accurate information and instruction on AIDS transmission and prevention, and which course shall also address abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred means of prevention, as a basic education program requirement.”

The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education must establish a state health education curriculum for grades K through 12. This curriculum, the Rules and Regulations for School Health, is based on the Comprehensive Health Instructional and the Health Education Framework and schools are mandated to use it.

Parents must be notified of sexuality education classes and may view the curriculum by submitting a written request. Students may be removed from instruction by written notification from the parent to the principal. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Rhode Island Statute 16-22-1, 16-22-17 and 16-22-18 as well as the Rules and Regulations for School Health, Comprehensive Health Instructional and the Health Education Framework.


SOUTH CAROLINA

Abstinence Education in South Carolina

“Showering together” and “lying in a bed unclothed with the opposite sex” are considered appropriate sexuality education topics according to the de facto authorities for sex education in South Carolina.
These are just two of dozens of examples from curricula approved and promoted by a 1994 partnership between the Centers for Disease Control’s Department of Adolescent Sexual Health (CDC DASH) and Planned Parenthood spin-off SIECUS.
Their cooperative agreement 14 years ago gave SIECUS very broad responsibilities for establishing state standards and training on “comprehensive sexuality.” And, as with so many other social programs, they chose to make South Carolina one of the initial guinea pigs for these standards and training.
Developed to the SIECUS standards, the sex education curricula they brought to South Carolina, Programs that Work, quickly infiltrated our schools and influenced much of the state’s sex education public policy.

But Programs that Work fell blatantly short of Palmetto State law. According to a 2000 SC Attorney General’s ruling, the CDC DASH-approved curricula “violate[d] both the letter and the spirit of the [SC] Comprehensive Health Education Act.” The opinion cited that the curricula:
•    Advise instructors to encourage students not to tell their parents what is being discussed in the classroom
•    Intrude upon the constitutional right of parents to raise their children
•    Deemphasize abstinence, as the surest way to prevent AIDS, as state law mandates
•    Read “more like the latest issue of Cosmopolitan or Playboy” than true sex education
•    Are deceptive, saying, “Simply putting the word ‘AIDS’ on the cover of a health education text book clearly does not permit educators to place a graphic sex manual or promotional advocacy for condoms inside.”
The Heritage Foundation of Washington, DC affirmed the SC Attorney General’s opinion that these materials promote contraception, not abstinence. That forced the hands of these government-funded groups. Since that time, though, they have attempted to repackage themselves. Under the banner of “Comprehensive Health Education”, they are gaining support of unsuspecting, naïve parents not only in South Carolina but across our nation who believe these curricula are addressing a more global need of “children’s health” not sex education.
It is time to draw the line and say, “Enough is enough.”
One reason South Carolina was chosen as an initial state for the CDC DASH pilot was the overwhelming issue of generational poverty. This trend is statistically co-related with children of never-married families having children of their own. But the SIECUS/CDC DASH programs never addressed the core issue at the heart of general poverty.
In response, a special section of Welfare Reform was created to teach the benefits of abstinence and marriage in an effort to break the generational poverty cycle. This legislation clearly defined what is known as the A-H Congressional Definition of Abstinence Education. These eight standards help define abstinence-outside-of-marriage program requirements and weed out Comprehensive Health Education contraception-promotion programs that falsely claim to be abstinence-based. 

To overcome the SIECUS/CDC DASH institutionally-biased environment, long-time SC abstinence-education advocates joined ranks in 1998 to compete as one for scarce federal abstinence education funds. Through Heritage Community Services (Heritage), they submitted a competitive bid to form five regional offices across the state, sharing rather than duplicating common services like bookkeeping, training and evaluation, in order to maximize services in the field.
Since then, Heritage has effectively served and evaluated more than 100,000 students using a number of abstinence-outside-of-marriage federal funding sources. Additional programs have been initiated by former staff members of Heritage, as well, and together they have defeated the skeptics who thought abstinence education would result in skyrocketing teen pregnancy rates. In fact, just the opposite happened. 
Since 1998, teen pregnancy rates have dropped by an astounding 35%. And a peer-reviewed article published by the Office of Population Affairs and the Administration for Children and Families reinforces this. The article states that a year after the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program, students who participated initiated sex at a rate half that of similar non-program students.
Yet, despite this dramatic trend reversal, many in the media and sexuality education community are still under the misinformed influence of the SIECUS/CDC DASH message. We are consistently being bombarded by groups like Tell Them! (www.tellthemsc.org), an anti-abstinence spin-off of the national “No More Money for Abstinence Education,” which continues to push the misinformation agenda, distorting the truth about abstinence education.
However, support for true abstinence education (A-H standards) is strong in South Carolina. In 2007, Palmetto Family Council released a public opinion survey, What Parents Want. This study of 500 registered voters (margin of +- 4.4%) conducted by the University of SC's Institute for Public Service and Policy research found that 80% of respondents said abstinence should be emphasized as the first and best option for youth and that 63% believe abstinence should occupy the majority of sex education time. This support for abstinence is increasing in South Carolina where more than 1100 people have joined the South Carolina Healthy Family Formation Coalition. Many of these members represent entire organizations, and this state-wide coalition is growing daily.
It is time we become one voice of truth in this fight to protect and defend our children. We can no longer stand idly by while the banner of “Comprehensive Health Education” continues to allow groups to seep immoral and dangerous messages of sexuality to our young people. We must unite and make abstinence-outside-of-marriage the standard again. Join us in this fight.

South Carolina Sexuality Education Law and Policy

According to the SC Attorney General’s Office, “By the way of historical overview, it is important to emphasize that reports concerning the Comprehensive Health Education Bill as it headed toward passage in 1988 stressed the intent of the legislation. While we cannot rely upon the statements of legislators, or others, such statements are never-the-less instructive. For example, one news report noted that the ‘bill also insists that abstinence be taught as the primary method of combating sexually transmitted disease and teen pregnancy.’ The State, February 4, 1988, p.1C. (Emphasis added). A proponent of the legislation, former Senator Heyward McDonald, then a member of the State Board of Education, stated that the legislation would ‘stress that sex before marriage is irresponsible and just plain wrong and would provide students guidance on how to say no.’ ”


Schools in South Carolina are required to teach sexuality education as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) education. State law specifies that:
In grades 6 through 8 sexually transmitted diseases are to be included as a part of instruction. And, at least one time during the four years of grades 9–12, each student shall receive at least 750 minutes of reproductive health education and pregnancy prevention education.
According to the law:
Reproductive health education means instruction in human physiology, conception, prenatal care and development, childbirth, and postnatal care, but does not include instruction concerning sexual practices outside marriage or practices unrelated to reproduction except within the context of the risk of disease. Abstinence and the risks associated with sexual activity outside of marriage must be strongly emphasized.
The law explains that “contraceptive information must be given in the context of future family planning,” which has been interpreted to mean that any information about contraception must be in the context of use during marriage. The law states that abstinence-until-marriage must be stressed; pregnancy prevention can be covered and must be taught in gender-divided classes; and adoption can be discussed, but abortion cannot. Finally it explains:
The program of instruction provided for in this section may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.
The state does not require or suggest a specific curriculum. However, each local school board must “appoint a thirteen member local advisory committee consisting of two parents, three clergy, two health professionals, two teachers, two students, one being the president of the student body of a high school, and two other persons not employed by the local school district.” Parents must be informed in advance of any sexuality specific instruction and are allowed to remove their children from any part of the health education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
See South Carolina Comprehensive Health Education Act Code 59-32-30.


SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota Sexuality Education Law and Policy

South Dakota law does not require schools to teach sexuality education. Instead, the decision is left up to local school boards. However, schools are required to teach “character development instruction,” which includes sexual abstinence.

The South Dakota Health Education Standards includes HIV/STD prevention in grades seven through twelve. The state does not require a specific curriculum.

South Dakota does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.

See South Dakota Statute 13-33-6.1 and the South Dakota Health Education Stand


TENNESSEE

Tennessee Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Tennessee Code forbids the teaching of any sexuality education class unless it has been approved by the state board of education and the local school board, and is taught by instructors deemed to be qualified by the local school board. Any course in sexuality education must “include presentations encouraging abstinence from sexual intercourse during the teen and pre-teen years.” Violation of this rule is considered a Class C misdemeanor.

The Code also protects sexuality education teachers:

With respect to sex education courses otherwise offered in accordance with the requirements of this subsection, no instructor shall be construed to be in violation of this section for answering in good faith any question, or series of questions, germane and material to the course, asked of the instructor and initiated by a student or students enrolled in the course.

Sexuality education is not required; however, the state code explains that if any county in Tennessee has pregnancy rates higher than 19.5 pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15–17, then every school district in that county must implement family life education in accordance with curriculum guidelines provided by the state board of education. This education must emphasize abstinence-until-marriage and must include HIV/AIDS- and sexually transmitted disease (STD)-prevention.

According to Tennessee Code, if a sexuality education program is developed in any school district, “in developing the plan, the state board shall consider such programs and materials as Sex Respect, Teen-Aid, and the 3-R Project of the South Carolina departments of education and health.” The state also recommends a plan for curriculum development, which includes building community and parental support for family life education. Schools must hold at least one public hearing. If, upon implementation of family life education in a school district, more than 50 parents or guardians with children enrolled in the school district complain about the program, the state department of education must audit the school district “for the purpose of evaluating the quality and effectiveness of the plan of family life instruction.” The state department of education must then recommend how to make the instruction more effective and how to build parental and community support for the program.

School districts may use health care professionals and social workers to assist in family life education. Such instructors must be individuals “upright of character and of good public standing.”

Family life education must be taught for four years after the release of the initial teen pregnancy rates. If the school district fails to implement family life education, then the county must do so. If the school board does not implement family life education, the commissioner of education for the state is instructed to withhold state funding.

According to Tennessee law, HIV/AIDS-prevention courses may not be required for graduation. In addition, all instruction and materials related to HIV/AIDS prevention must place “primary emphasis on abstinence from premarital intimacy and on the avoidance of drug abuse in controlling the spread of AIDS.”

Tennessee Code allows students to be removed from sexuality education classes upon written request of their parent or guardian. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Tennessee Code Sections 49-6-1005, 49-6-1008, 49-6-1301, 49-6-1302, and 49-6-1303.

Recent News
July 1, 2012
"Requires local education agencies to develop and implement a family life education program is the teen pregnancy rate in any county exceeds 19.5 pregnancies per 1,000 females aged 11 through 18. Requires curriculum be age-appropriate and provide factually and medically accurate information. Prohibits instruction and distribution of materials that promote 'gateway sexual activity'. Requires that parents or guardians be notified in advance of a family life program, allowed to examine instruction materials, and provide written consent for a student to participate in or opt-out of family life education." http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/state-policies-on-sex-education-in-schools.aspx

January 28, 2011
Letter: Abstinence can be healthy choice
"Our bodies and minds are also set up to enjoy food and drink, but we have a huge push in society to encourage, and even legislate, that people consume the appropriate foods and drink in appropriate amounts at appropriate times. Inappropriate indulgence in this feel-good activity leads to disease and, in some cases, death. Sexually active teens are at risk for numerous health problems, emotional and physical, not the least of which is pregnancy."  Read full article.

January 23, 2011
Frayser teen encourages parents to talk to peers about abstinence
"A Frayser teen, concerned about the teenage pregnancy crisis in her neighborhood, has made a vow she hopes other teens will follow."  Read full article.

January 26, 2011 Planned Parenthood's troubling 'philosophy'
"This is not about sexual education," contends Alaynna. "This is about sexual instruction and sexual encouragement."  Read full article.

October 4, 2010
From abstinence to 'safe sex' ed
“One-hundred-and-sixty-nine abstinence education programs throughout the country have lost their funding, including one very popular program here in Knoxville.”  Read full story.


TEXAS

Abstinence Education in Texas

Texas Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Texas does not require sexuality education. However, Texas Education Code states that if a school district does teach sexuality education, HIV/AIDS prevention, or sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention education, then it must:

•    Present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relationship to all sexual activity for unmarried persons of school age;
•    Devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;
•    Emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity, if used consistently and correctly, is the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity;
•    Direct adolescents to a standard of behavior in which abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); and
•    Teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates, if instruction on contraception and condoms is included in curriculum content.

Sexuality education and STD/HIV-prevention education are also included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health Education, which are written by the Texas Education Agency.

If a school district implements a sexuality education program, it must also set up an advisory board. The majority of this board must be made up by parents with children enrolled in the district who are not employed by the district. This board must “assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district's health education instruction.”

Parents or guardians may remove their children from any part of sexuality education instruction by submitting a written request to the principal. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. 

See Texas Education Code Sections 28.004 and 26.010 and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health Education.

Recent News
March 8, 2011
Abstinence from sex is in our best interest
"Teens and young adults are having less sex and should be commended for doing so. In a study conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2006 and 2008 reported that 29 percent of female youth aged 15-24 and 27 percent of males in the same age group had never had sex. That is an increase from the 22 percent for both sexes in 2002."  Read full story.

February 14, 2011
Group Opposes CCISD Sex Ed Curriculum
"The critics claimed that the lessons from family planning actually encourage students to explore other forms of sex like "outer-course" instead of remaining abstinent."  Read full article.

February 12, 2011
A party about purity
"Crowds of young people, glow sticks and a multicolored light show made an unusual forum to discuss purity and abstinence, but young people came from as far as Lubbock to see the performance at CrossRoads Fellowship in Odessa."  Read full article.

January 25, 2011
Community split over sex education program in MISD
"Eric Fuselier, chairman of the Midland/Odessa Deanery of Catholics for Life Committee,called for people in the community to write Midland Independent School District Superintendent Ryder Warren to express their support for an abstinence program in schools."  Read full article.

December 29, 2010
Can social media curb STD's and teen pregnancy in Lubbock?
"The board is discussing ideas to help educate teens in the New Year. They include reaching out to teens by social media by making an official Facebook page for the health department."  Read full article.

December 14, 2010
Teen parents talk legal, financial consequences of sex
"The programs, developed by Texas child-support officials, focus on the legal responsibilities, emotional toll and dollars-and-cents realities of life as a teen parent."  Read full article.

December 7, 2010
School district pregnancy rate falling since 2008
"Since the school district began keeping statistics in 2002-03, the school district has averaged 74 pregnancies. The high point was 82 pregnancies in 2006-07, followed by 79 in 2007-08. The number fell 17.7 percent to 65 in 2008-09, then hit 67 in 2009-10."  Read full article.

October 31, 2010
School district pushes importance of sex talks
“To help bridge that gap, Wood along with CareNet have given parents those statistics in the newsletter, a number to call with questions and even some suggested reads to help ease that conversation.”  Read full article.

October 1, 2010
Sex education program to be expanded
“For example, the program attempts to instill in students as many of the 40 “developmental assets” as possible.
These generally recognized assets include things such as valuing education and having pride in one's community. Studies have shown the more of these assets a teen has, the less likely he or she is to engage in risky behavior, such as taking drugs, engaging in premarital sex or dropping out of school.”  Read full article.

September 16, 2010
Health seminar aims to reduce STDs in teens
“The Angelina County and Cities Health District Wednesday sponsored a health seminar geared toward sexually transmitted diseases in adolescents.” Read full article.


UTAH

Utah Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Utah State Code mandates that the State Board of Education establish curriculum requirements in grades eight through twelve for the prevention of communicable diseases. This instruction must stress “the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases; and personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity.”

Among other limitations on what can be taught, the Code states that:

At no time may instruction be provided, including responses to spontaneous questions raised by students, regarding any means or methods that facilitate or encourage the violation of any state or federal criminal law by a minor or adult. In addition, the materials adopted by a local school board must prohibit instruction in: the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior; the advocacy of homosexuality; the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices; or the advocacy of sexual activity outside of marriage.

Utah State Code requires that each newly hired or newly assigned educator who teaches or who will be teaching any part of a sexuality education class must attend, on an annual basis, a state-sponsored course that outlines the state designed curriculum and Utah Code regarding the teaching of human sexuality.

The Utah Health Education Core, a suggested curriculum framework produced by the Utah State Office of Education, provides greater detail regarding grade level and topics to be included.

Schools are not required to follow this framework. However, the Utah State Code requires that local school districts have a Curriculum Materials Review Committee. This Committee must make sure that all instructional material complies:

[W]ith state law and state board rules emphasizing abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage, and prohibiting instruction in:

•    The intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;
•    The advocacy of homosexuality;
•    The advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices; or
•    The advocacy of sexual activity outside of marriage.

Curricula must be adopted after “an open and regular” school board meeting in which parents and guardians have an opportunity to testify about the curricula.

Parents or guardians must given written permission in order for a student to participate in any form of sexuality education. This is referred to as an “opt-in” policy.

See Utah State Code 53A-13-101, Utah Administrative Rule R277-474, and the Health Education Core.

Recent News
April 13, 2011
Abstinence can work
"Given the enormous costs to society from illicit sex — problems that range from unwanted pregnancies to disease and emotional distress — abstinence deserves more, not less, attention from government and the media."  Read full article.

September 12, 2010
Condoms Training
“Clearly, abstinence-only sex education has contributed to Utah being among the leaders in reproductive health.” Read full article.


VERMONT

Vermont Sexuality Education Law and Policy

The Vermont Education Code includes sexuality education as part of its comprehensive health program. This program must be taught in elementary and secondary schools. The comprehensive health program has 10 parts, four of which are related to sexuality:

•    Body structure and function, including the physical, psychosocial and psychological basis of human development, sexuality and reproduction;
•    Disease, such as HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as other communicable diseases, and the prevention of disease;
•    Family health and mental health, including instruction which promotes the development of responsible personal behavior involving decision-making about sexual activity including abstinence; skills which strengthen existing family ties involving communication, cooperation, and interaction between parents and students; and instruction to aid in the establishment of strong family life in the future, thereby contributing to the enrichment of the community; and
•    Human growth and development, including understanding the physical, emotional, and social elements of individual development and interpersonal relationships including instruction in parenting methods and styles. This shall include information regarding the possible outcomes of premature sexual activity, contraceptives, adolescent pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, and abortion.

Vermont's Sample Comprehensive HIV Policy for Schools: Pre-K-12, developed by the Department of Education, includes suggestions for HIV/AIDS-prevention education. Local school districts may establish a “comprehensive health education community advisory council” to assist the school board in developing and deciding upon health curricula. In addition, Vermont statute requires that “the commissioner [of education] with the approval of the state board shall establish an advisory council on comprehensive health education….The council shall assist the department of education in planning a program of comprehensive health education in the public schools.”

Parents or guardians may remove their children from a sexuality education class if the content is in conflict with their religious beliefs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Vermont Statute, Title 16, Part 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter 7, Sections 131 through 135 and the Sample Comprehensive HIV Policy for Schools: Pre-K-12.

Recent News
October 29, 2010
Teen Pregnancy
“Getting pregnant is 100% preventable.  There are other ways to try and avoid getting pregnant. But to be 100% sure, abstinence is the way to go.”  Read full article.


VIRGINIA

Virginia Sexuality Education Law and Policy

The Virginia Administrative Code states that all curriculum decisions are to be left to local school boards. Virginia gives permission for local school boards to develop sexuality education programs with the “goals of reducing the incidence of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and substance abuse among teenagers.” However, the state board of education is also required to develop standards and curriculum guidelines for kindergarten through twelfth grades. Titled, Guidelines on Family Life Education, this document set standards for “comprehensive, sequential family life education curriculum” that include age-appropriate instruction in “family living and community relationships, abstinence education, the value of postponing sexual activity, the benefits of adoption as a positive choice in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, human sexuality, human production, steps to take to avoid sexual assault, and availability of counseling, and legal resources.”

Virginia code requires each local school board to establish a school health advisory council of no more than 20 members. This council must have “broad-based community representation including, but not limited to, parents, students, health professionals, educators, and others.” This council shall decide health policies, including sexuality education, for the school district. It must also “place special emphasis on the thorough evaluation of materials related to controversial or sensitive topics such as sex education, moral education, and religion.”

Parents and guardians have the right to review the curriculum. The law states that parents or guardians can remove their students from any class. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. Virginia laws also state that “parents should be required to justify their requests.”

See Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-131-170; Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-170-10; Code of Virginia 221.102-7.1, 22.1-207.2 and 22.1-275.1; and Virginia Guidelines on Family Life Education.

Recent News
February 13, 2011
LU Students Promote Day of Purity on Valentine’s Day
"For many young people Valentine's Day is a time of romance and passion. But, students at Liberty University say the holiday doesn't have to be about sex."  Read full article.

December 16, 2010
City of Lynchburg Signs Day of Purity Proclamation
"At this week’s Lynchburg City Council meeting, Mayor Joan Foster announced the Day of Purity Proclamation. As the first city to sign in support of the Day of Purity, Lynchburg joins nearly a thousand schools and organizations across the nation that have supported the Day of Purity."  Read full article.

October 22, 2010
Abstinence the healthiest lesson
“True abstinence education is focused on teaching the keys to healthy relationships including self-respect, effective communication and critical thinking skills.”  Read full article.

September 3, 2010
Virginia: McDonnell Seeks Money for Abstinence Education
“'Despite the rhetoric from the economic loser in this decision, Planned Parenthood, recent studies have shown that abstinence education effectively helps teens postpone risky sexual behavior,' countered Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia.”  Read full article.

August 17, 2010
Planned Parenthood urges McDonnell to accept federal money for sex education
“Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia is urging Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to apply for a federal grant to teach comprehensive sex education instead of abstinence-only education.” Read full article.


WASHINGTON

Abstinence Education in Washington

In the state of Washington, legislation was passed last year which requires all schools who teach sex education, that they must teach abstinence but not to the exclusion of contraceptive education. School districts are required to follow guidelines established by the Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI) which require schools to use curriculum that has been approved by the State DOH who have verified that the material is medically accurate. OSPI is also looking to see if curriculums provide information on contraceptives and do not alienate students based on sexual orientation. At this point, they are telling schools that they can use different groups to teach the various components. But schools are not allowed to teach sex ed if they don’t meet the guidelines. The WATE coalition group is meeting this month to determine how best to respond. Some curriculums have been submitted but school districts while others have not. So far we have heard of one program declined, one that has passed the medical accuracy screening, and now is the OSPI office. Others are reviewing their materials to update and edit to insure their references are current and come from reliable sources that will pass the scrutiny of the DOH office. Organizations are getting a team of local medical physicians to be a review board and sign off on anything that gets turned in to the state DOH. There is discussion of legal action against OSPI or DOH if they decide to play hardball.

Recent attacks
There has mostly been press releases indicating that abstinence education does not work with very little supporting abstinence. There is a strong Planned Parenthood and NARAL group in Seattle who are on a mission to remove all abstinence education from the public school system in our state. To counter this, letters to the editor and letters/calls/emails/faxes to legislators have been made along with visits to legislator’s offices. Democrats hold both Senate and House in our state so it is very difficult to get anyone to split from party line. We are seeing some schools drop the abstinence program until they see where things settle. Other schools insist they will have our programs with or without the approval. The best-case scenario will be abstinence programs who get through the screening process and then work along side contraceptive instruction groups. The worst-case scenario is that the “gate-keepers” at DOH and OSPI will tie things up forever and keep abstinence programs out of the schools indefinitely.  We’ve got a lot of backing from our schools in certain parts of the state and believe we can and will fight this thing through with a belief we’ll maintain a place in the school system.

Submitted by Jim Grenfell 5/8/08

Washington Sexuality Education Law and Policy
School districts in Washington are not required to implement comprehensive sexuality education; however, they are required to teach sexually transmitted disease -(STD) and HIV/AIDS-prevention education and emphasize abstinence as a prevention method. This instruction must be given at least once each school year beginning in the fifth grade and must “teach that condoms and other artificial means of birth control are not a certain means of preventing the spread of the AIDS virus and reliance on condoms puts a person at risk for exposure to the disease.” Information must be current and medically accurate. In order to verify medical accuracy, the state Department of Health must review and approve all HIV curricula and supporting materials.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Health developed voluntary guidelines titled the Guidelines for Sexual Health and Disease Prevention. These Guidelines promote broad, comprehensive, positive sexuality education programs that provide information about both abstinence and contraception, and are consistent with characteristics of programs that have been rigorously evaluated using quantitative research and have shown to be effective in reducing risk-taking behaviors. Washington also provides a voluntary curriculum, KNOW HIV/STD Prevention Curriculum, for use in grades five through twelve.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from HIV/AIDS-prevention education if they have attended one information session about the HIV/AIDS curriculum and presentation. If a school district chooses to provide sexuality education, parents may also remove their children from the class with written notification. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. 

See Revised Code of Washington Section 28A.230.070, Guidelines for Sexual Health and Disease Prevention, and KNOW HIV/STD Prevention Curriculum.


WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia Sexuality Education Law and Policy

West Virginia law does not require sexuality education, but does require HIV/AIDS-prevention education in sixth through twelfth grades. According to a West Virginia legislative rule, “the goal of this policy is to assist in the protection of students by providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to avoid behaviors that will put them at the risk of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).” Each county board must integrate HIV-prevention education into health courses and may also include it in science, development, and social studies courses. West Virginia does not require any specific curriculum; however, a suggested curriculum framework, includes sexuality education.

Parents or guardians may remove their children from any part of this instruction by written notification to the principal. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Legislative Rule of the West Virginia Board of Education 126-50A and 126-50B (West Virginia Board of Education Policies 2422.4, 2422.45, and 2520.5).

Recent News
October 28, 2010
Teen Pregnancy Rates In Washington At All-Time Low
“Pregnancy rates for teens ages 15 to 19 in Washington are at their lowest since 1980. Rates have declined since peaking in 1989 with 96 pregnancies per 1,000 teens.”  Read full article.


WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Wisconsin state law encourages, but does not require, school boards to provide classes in sexuality education. However, Wisconsin statute does identify educational goals and expectations; one of these goals is personal development. The statute states that school boards shall provide a program to discuss the human body and how to maintain lifelong health. It adds that this should include instruction in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and be offered in high schools. According to Wisconsin statute, this instruction may include:

•    Self-esteem, responsible decision-making, and personal responsibility;
•    Interpersonal relationships;
•    Discouragement of adolescent sexual activity;
•    Family life and skills required of a parent;
•    Human sexuality; reproduction; family planning, as defined in [state law] s.243.07, including natural family planning; human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; prenatal development; childbirth; adoption; available prenatal and postnatal support; and male and female responsibility.
•    Sex stereotypes and protective behavior.

These classes can occur in kindergarten through twelfth grade and must be age-appropriate. If a school board provides instruction in any of these areas, they must “also provide instruction in marriage and parental responsibility.”

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is authorized to develop a health education program that includes STDs and AIDS. DPI also has the authority to develop health curriculum guidelines, but is prohibited from requiring local school boards to use a specific curriculum.

Parents and guardians must be given the opportunity to review all materials related to sexuality education classes. If such classes are offered, school boards must also form advisory councils consisting of “parents, teachers, school administrators, pupils, health care professionals, members of the clergy, and other residents of the school district” to review the sexuality education curricula at least every three years.

Parents or guardians can remove their children from sexuality education classes with a written note to the teacher or principal. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Wisconsin Statutes 115.35 and 118.019.

Recent News
March 2013
A school board may provide an instructional program in human growth and development in grades kindergarten through 12. Program shall be medically accurate and age-appropriate. Abstinence will be presented as the sure way to prevent pregnancy and STIs. Instruction must identify the skills necessary to remain abstinent. http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/state-policies-on-sex-education-in-schools.aspx

March 2012
Wisconsin Halts Mandatory Contraceptive Sex ed. Law
NAEA applauds the fine work done by the WI legislature in returning sex education decisions to local school boards and the communities they represent. By a 60-34 vote, the "Strong Communities...Healthy Kids" bill (AB 337), sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Theisfelt (R-Fond-du-Lac) and Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), revises a bill passed in 2009 that mandated all schools to teach so-called "Comprehensive" sex education or nothing at all. The new bill gives and expanded choice to school districts to include Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence programs if they desire. "The 'Strong Communities...Healthy Kids' bill is a common sense approach to sex education on the local level. It restores the ability of school districts to reflect the values of their communities instead of a one-size fits all approach that ignores effective SRA abstinence education programs," stated Mary Anne Mosack, Nation Director of State Initiatives of the National Abstinence Education Foundation. Components of the new bill include the addition of topics on bullying, parental responsibility and the socioeconomic benefits of marriage. NAEA is encouraged that communities in WI will not be limited in their choice of sex education curricula. 

December 2, 2010
Wausau starts sex education review process
"Wausau school board members and residents met tonight to start the process of reviewing the district's sex education curriculum."  Read the full article.

October 22, 2010
Wisconsin forcing explicit sex-ed
“Parents of ninth graders in Cedarburg can still opt their children out of sex-ed classes, and signed approval must first be given to the school before their kids can attend the classes on the explicit sexual topics.”  Read full article.

August 25, 2010
Merrill parents debate over sex ed curriculum
“It's a debate Merrill parents are passionate about and unless the school board decides to remove sex education classes from curriculum, this new law would come into play.”  Read full article.

August 26, 2010
Sex ed law changes little in Mauston
“Despite the inclusion of sexual orientation, contraception and other controversial topics, the Healthy Youth Act will actually have little effect on human growth and development instruction in Mauston schools, according to Grayside Elementary School Nurse Donna McGinley.”  Read full article.

August 11, 2010
Wisconsin schools gearing up for comprehensive sex education
“Under the new law, schools can choose between teaching comprehensive sex education, or not at all. Parents uncomfortable with children learning about contraception can opt out.” Read full article.

August 22, 2010
Mauston advisory committee recommends sex ed opt in
“Despite a dissenting opinion by one committee member, the School District of Mauston Human Growth and Development Advisory Committee decided to uphold its recommendation to make minor changes to its current curriculum in light of the recently passed Healthy Youth Act.” Read full article.


WYOMING

Wyoming Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Wyoming does not require sexuality, HIV/AIDS, or sexually transmitted disease (STD)- prevention education, nor does it limit what can be taught if such education is offered. However, the Wyoming Health Content and Performance Standards does include sexuality education and the HIV/AIDS Model Policy for Wyoming Public Schools sets some standards for HIV/AIDS-prevention education. The Wyoming Department of Education created both of these documents. These standards state that, “the goals of HIV prevention education are to promote healthful living and discourage the behaviors that put people at risk of acquiring HIV. The educational program will:

•    Be taught at every level, kindergarten through grade twelve;
•    Use methods demonstrated by sound research to be effective;
•    Be consistent with community standards;
•    Follow content guidelines prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
•    Be appropriate to students' developmental levels, behaviors, and cultural backgrounds;
•    Build knowledge and skills from year to year;
•    Stress the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity, alcohol, and other drug use;
•    Include accurate information on reducing risk of HIV infection;
•    Address students' own concerns;
•    Include means for evaluation;
•    Be an integral part of a coordinated school health program;
•    Be taught by well-prepared instructors with adequate support; and
•    Involve parents, families, and communities as partners in education.”

The state does not recommend a specific curriculum. The HIV/AIDS Model Policy for Wyoming Public Schools states that parents or guardians can ask that their children not receive HIV/AIDS prevention education. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards and HIV/AIDS Model Policy for Wyoming Public Schools.


NATIONWIDE NEWS

March 28, 2011FDA Headbangs With Condoms, Not Cigs

March 13, 2011Sexual scripts affect decisions

March 7, 2011Good News about Teen Abstinence

February 10, 2011Drop in pregnancies - abstinence...or abortions?

January 19, 2011For African Youths, True Love Really Waits

December 29, 2010Planned Parenthood Launches ‘Social Change Initiative’ to Teach Parents How to Educate Children About Sex, Including Masturbation, Homosexuality

December 29, 2010Pure in mind, pure in actions

December 14, 2010The government on smoking and sex