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Mandatory Sexual Health Education, Affirmed Consent Discussions Coming to Alameda Schools

California Governor Jerry Brown signed bills AB 329 and SB 695 on October 1st. (File Photo)

California Governor Jerry Brown signed bills AB 329 and SB 695 on October 1st. (File Photo)

Pursuant to two bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 1st, Alameda parents should expect mandatory sexual health education curriculum, including HIV/AIDS prevention materials, and affirmed consent curriculum in local schools over the coming years.

Assembly bill 329, chaptered as the California Healthy Youth Act, makes sexual health education mandatory, updates content on HIV/AIDS prevention, calls for instruction on sexual negotiation and refusal skills to avoid high-risk activities and provides for instruction and materials on forming healthy relationships that are based on mutual respect and affection.

It also mandates that “instruction and materials shall teach the value of and prepare pupils to have and maintain committed relationships such as marriage,” but forbids the teaching or promoting religious doctrine.

The bill requires school districts to ensure that pupils in grades seven through 12, inclusive, “receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education.”

Senate bill 695 requires the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) – and advisory body to the California Department of Education – to consider adding, in the next Health Framework for California Public Schools revision, new sexual harassment/violence and affirmed consent content for grades nine through 12.

The commission does not currently have posted on its website future goals with regards to updates to the health curriculum, so it’s unclear how soon schools may have content guidelines from that body.

A spokesperson for the Alameda Unified School District told Action Alameda News, “[the district] requires that all students take Current Life, which includes health instruction, in order to graduate from high school. The district plans to include the mandated teaching on sexual violence prevention starting next year.”

She also provided this statement from Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “I fully support this new mandate and the intention of keeping our students safe and teaching them how to have healthier relationships. [District] staff and students have been working together for years to counter violence and bullying in all its forms, whether that be emotional or physical. I laud our work as a community and a society to lead one another toward respect, tolerance, and civil rights for all people.”

The Instructional Quality Commission has four published meeting dates scheduled for next year.

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