A new state law in effect this year requires all California public school students to take sex education beginning in seventh grade.

Parents who don’t want their kids to learn about issues like body image, contraception and HIV awareness and prevention will have to formally opt out by submitting a document to their school or district.

For years, sex education has been optional. If parents wanted their children to take a sexual health class, they had to sign up for the instruction.

The law, called the California Healthy Youth Act, attempts to standardize and update sex education in the state, which also now must include gender identity.

San Francisco Unified has one of the most comprehensive sex education curriculums in the state, covering everything from sexual orientation to abusive relationships.

Health educators in the district say seventh grade is the best time to start teaching students about sexual health.

“Their bodies are developing, and often young people start to develop crushes on other students,” says Christopher Pepper, a San Francisco Unified health teacher. “They’re dealing with effects of hormones in their body, and understanding all those things can be a little bit challenging.”

California is also the first state in the nation where high school students will now learn about affirmative consent, known as “Yes means Yes.”

Developing a more comprehensive sex education curriculum is expected to be challenging in more conservative areas like Clovis Unified, which was found to have violated the state’s pre-existing law on sex education by providing students with inaccurate and biased information about sexual health.

The big question is how the state will monitor school districts, and whether there will be an uptick in families opting out.

Camille Giglio, with the group California Right To Life, says this curriculum goes too far.

“This comes into a whole new category of being forced to listen for six years to one version of so-called sexual health,” Giglio said.

The California State PTA supports the new law, saying students should have medically accurate and unbiased information.

Sex Ed Now Required in California Public Schools 13 January,2016Ana Tintocalis

  • I admit that somehow, sex education changes the learning of a child – as my experience as a mother – but in the other hand, the curricula also have the ability to change the thinking of a child if is deliver in a right approach. “covering everything from sexual orientation to abusive relationships.” – one of the advantages of the curriculum.

    Rhonda@ nottingham escort

  • Jim Sedlak

    The law actually only requires the material be taught ONCE in Junior High/Middle School and ONCE in High School.

  • Camille Giglio

    This new curriculum on sexual matters is really just a Planned Parenthood monopoly/partnership with the state school system. The laws concerning teaching sex ed are written by, lobbied for and created specifically for the restricted use of Planned parenthood or any group which they have trained and of which they approve. It’s a biased, exclusive contract between one private enterprize, Planned Parenthood, and a Public, tax supported and taxpayer owned school system. The schools have abandoned their true purpose in academic education and exposed the students to behaviior modification experimentation in sexual matters.

    • microlith

      You really seem terrified by Planned Parenthood, but have completely failed to present a credible explanation as to why.

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