There is a strategic push underway to normalize teen sex and advance “sexual rights” of youth even if that notion opposes family and community values. Demonstrating this strategy, several concerning bills have been introduced or are currently under debate in legislatures across the country. These bills are pushing for radical and extreme sex and gender education that undermines parental and family accord.
The proposed legislation is guided by the ideology of a small but vocal minority and disguised under a cloak of language that purports to address equality in the classroom. In an effort to prevent harassment of sexual minority or LGBTQ youth, a provision already secured in most school policies, the legislative measures actually harm youth by normalizing teen sex. The Centers for Disease Control identify teen sex as a risk behavior (1). The research is clear, what is best for ALL youth, including sexual minority youth, is that sexual delay offers the best long-term outcomes for their sexual health as well as their life outcomes.
However, in states such as California, Colorado, and Washington, rather than encouraging the optimal health message of sexual delay, they are passing bills aimed to not only encourage teen sex but also promote radical ideology.
Parents in California will not be able to opt their child out of education on gender, gender identity or gender expression. In Colorado, parents won’t even be notified of discussions on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation or healthy relationships. Schools will no longer have control or say-so in what their communities need or are taught. Rather, a one-size-fits-all approach will be mandated regardless of variations in cultural needs, community values, or variations in school populations.
States will be requiring “comprehensive” sexual education. But don’t let the name fool you. Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) places a stronger emphasis on contraceptive use and negotiation rather than sexual delay. Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) is a primary prevention risk-elimination public health model. Contraception use is a secondary prevention risk-reduction method used for those engaged in a risk behavior. Since the majority of school-age youth have never had sex, the most reasoned approach for education in the classroom is Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) (2).
COLORADO: House Bill 19-1032 Analysis
Link to bill text:
- Purpose is to mandate that if Sex Ed is taught, the only option will be to teach “comprehensive human sexuality education” without exclusion in all Colorado public and charter school. This directly challenges local control. A discussion of sex and sexuality issues is a sensitive and often controversial area of discussion with school aged children. No modification for any school district violates not only local control but attempts to presume a one-size-fits-all approach for every school and every community.
- Does “not endorse sexual abstinence as the primary or sole acceptable preventative method available to students”. However, abstaining from sex is the only 100% way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Sexual Risk Avoidance is a primary prevention risk elimination public health model. Contraception use is a secondary prevention risk reduction method used for those engaged in a risk behavior. Conflating these two approaches as equal is medically inaccurate.
- Some of the most controversial aspects of discussion on sexuality for school-aged children involve gender related issues. This bill gives parents no notification on such discussion “outside the context of human sexuality instruction.”
California is currently in the process of revising their Health Education Framework to align with the Healthy Youth Act and Health Education Content Standards.
California Healthy Youth Act enacted January 1, 2016:
2019 Health Framework Revision Guidelines:
Health Education Content Standards (revised in 2008):
- This framework provides guidance for implementing the content standards required to be taught in California schools.
- The framework will require material and content taught place special emphasis on LGBTQ youth and gender, gender identity, and gender expression.
WASHINGTON: House Bill 1407/ Senate Bill 5395 Analysis
- Current law: Washington Healthy Youth Act: http://www.k12.wa.us/HIVSexualhealth/Healthyyouthact.aspx
- Comprehensive Sex Ed curricula typically focus the majority of time on contraceptive attainment, negotiation, and use rather than skills necessary to delay sex. However, not having sex is the only 100% way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) is a primary prevention risk-elimination public health model. Contraception use is a secondary prevention risk-reduction method used for those engaged in a risk behavior. Conflating these two approaches as equal is medically inaccurate.
- “Protected class” is added to include gender identity and gender expression.
- Will require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI):
- to create a review tool for materials that schools must use when choosing a curricula
- submit an annual report to the education committees of the legislature listing curricula used
- Requires material to be “evidence-informed” and align with the Healthy Youth Act. However, none of the curricula listed on the OSPI website as adhering to the Healthy Youth Act and AIDS Omnibus Act have demonstrated (through replication studies) a delay in sexual activity, decrease in pregnancy, reduction in the number of partners or reduction Sexually Transmitted Disease rates.
- Re-Examining the Evidence for Comprehensive Sex Education in Schools 2018, A Global Research Review. https://www.institute-research.com/CSEReport/Global%20CSE%20Report–US_and__International_Combined__9-13-18_FINAL.pdf
- Parents must submit a written request in order to review curriculum adding an extra burden for busy parents to know what is being taught to their child.
(1) CDC. (2018) Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2017