sex-edIn January 2016, California adopted a new law ensuring comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education in public schools. The California Healthy Youth Act requires public school districts statewide to provide students with unbiased sex ed classes (at least) once in middle school and (at least) once again in high school.

The law is intended to give students the knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections. The new curriculum promotes understanding of sexuality as a normal part of human development, and also specifically focuses on developing positive attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender, and sexual orientation.

Instruction in all grades must be medically accurate and appropriate for students with disabilities and English language learners. Further, the curriculum must be inclusive of all races, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations. Instruction is not allowed to promote any kind of religious doctrine, and abstinence-only sex education is also not permitted.

The new law requires that the curriculum must respect and address the needs of students of all genders and sexual orientations, and be inclusive of same‐sex relationships when providing examples of couples or relationships. It must also address issues regarding gender expression and identity, and explore the dangers of negative gender stereotypes in depth.

In middle school through high school, the requirements are even more specific. In addition to meeting all of the above requirements, instruction for grades 7-12 must also include information on the nature of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), including discussion about reducing the risk of HIV transmission as a result of injection drug use, regular HIV testing and the social views of HIV and AIDS.

Our private tutors are glad to hear that The California Healthy Youth Act also includes new information about adolescent relationship abuse, sexual assault, and sex trafficking while reinforcing a focus on healthy behaviors in relationships.

When it comes to the topic of contraception and unexpected pregnancies, students will learn about the safety and effectiveness of all FDA-approved contraception methods and their rights to access these resources. Further, students will be provided with information that clarifies that abstinence is the only certain way to avoid pregnancy and STI’s, and highlights the value of delaying sexual activity. Of course, comprehensive information about pregnancy will also be covered, including the importance of prenatal care and all legally available pregnancy options—including parenting, adoption, abortion, and information on California’s newborn safe surrender law.

School districts are ensuring that teachers are prepared to deliver this instruction by providing comprehensive training for all teachers who are currently providing HIV prevention education. Parents must be notified that their student will receive sexual health and HIV prevention education, and also be allowed to view the materials prior to the beginning of instruction. Any parents or guardians may remove their student from instruction by submitting a request in writing.

Our private tutoring service is always available to help students in San Bernardino, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego and Alameda County. If your child is struggling, contact us today to learn more about how our private tutors can help your student succeed.