Know Your Rights: Sex Ed Should Inform, Not Stigmatize
It's back to school time! You'll have your class schedules soon if you don't already, and we hope that you find a subject this year that really inspires you – whether it's art, math, history, science, P.E., or something else.
For each of these subjects, you should be able to trust the information you get in class. Educators are tasked with teaching facts, methods, and theories that cover everything you need to know and prepare you for the future.
The same should be true for sex education.
Abstinence-only sex education has been illegal in California for years. But some schools are still failing to teach sex ed, or are teaching a version of sex ed that spreads misinformation and is based in fear and stigma.
The good news is that California has a fantastic new law that says that you have a right to quality, comprehensive sex education that's based in fact. If you're in 7th grade or older and you're at a public school, your schools are now required to teach sex ed at least twice before you graduate. And the law affirmatively recognizes that sex ed should be fully inclusive of LGBTQ students and acknowledge diversity in gender and sexual orientation.
Here are a few of the topics your sex ed curriculum is now legally required to cover:
- How to have healthy and safe relationships, and how to identify abuse
- How to say no to sexual contact you don't want
- How Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV are transmitted, how to protect against getting them, and how to treat them
- How to prevent pregnancy, including a variety of birth controlmethodsand abstinence
- What to do if someone does get pregnant, including parenting, adoption, and abortion
- Gender, gender identity, and gender expression
- Sexual orientation and how it’s normal for people to have different sexual orientations
If you'd like to learn more about all the topics you should be receiving in your sex ed curriculum, please check out our information page at myschoolmyrights.com.
If you have questions about the new law, how to implement it, or need examples of resources and curricula, check out our resource page. Here you can download FAQs, a compliance checklist, and other materials you might need. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, administrator, student, or advocate, there’s something here for you.
Are you worried that your school isn’t complying with the California Health Youth Act? Contact us!