In January 2016, California adopted a new law covering comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education in public schools, Education Code Sections 51930‐51939 (AB 329). Here are some facts about the law.
- Comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education is required at least once in middle school and at least once in high school. Abstinence‐only instruction is not permitted.
- All instruction in all grades must be age‐appropriate and medically accurate (meaning accepted by organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics) and may not promote religious doctrine. All elements of the instruction must be in alignment with each other.
- Sexual health education must respect and address the needs of students of all genders and sexual orientations. Instruction must affirmatively recognize different sexual orientations and be inclusive of same‐sex relationships when providing examples of couples or relationships. It must also teach about gender, gender expression, and gender identity, and explore the harm of negative gender stereotypes.
- Beginning in grade 7, instruction must include information about the safety and effectiveness of all FDA‐approved methods of preventing pregnancy and transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (including condoms, contraceptives, and antiretroviral treatment) and abstinence. It must also include information about HIV, pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual assault, healthy relationships, and sex trafficking, as well as local resources for accessing care and students’ rights to access care.
- Parents must be notified that their student will receive sexual health and HIV prevention education and be allowed to view the materials prior to instruction. Parents/guardians may remove their student from the instruction by submitting a request in writing.
- Teachers or outside speakers must have training in and knowledge of the most recent medically accurate research on the topic. District must also periodically provide training to all district personnel who provide HIV prevention instruction. Outside organizations or speakers must also follow all laws when they present.
- Instruction must be appropriate for students with disabilities, English language learners, and students of all races and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Schools must make sure that all students can get sexual health education and HIV prevention education in a way that work for them.
Source: THE ACLU OF CALIFORNIA
For more information, visit the ACLU's webpage.