BILL REQ. #: S-0671.1
|State of Washington||60th Legislature||2007 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/16/2007. Referred to Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education.
AN ACT Relating to providing medically and scientifically accurate sexual health education in schools; adding a new section to chapter 28A.300 RCW; and creating new sections.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 (1) The legislature finds that young people
should have the knowledge and skills necessary to build healthy
relationships, and to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and
sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. The primary
responsibility for sexual health education is with parents and
guardians. However, this responsibility also extends to schools,
religious organizations, and other community groups. It is in the
public's best interest to ensure that young people are equipped with
medically and scientifically accurate, age-appropriate information that
will help them avoid unintended pregnancies, remain free of sexually
transmitted diseases, and make informed, responsible decisions
throughout their lives.
(2) The legislature intends to support and advance the standards established in the January 2005 guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention developed by the office of the superintendent of public instruction and the department of health. These guidelines are a fundamental tool to help school districts, teachers, guest speakers, health and counseling providers, community groups, parents, and guardians choose, develop, and evaluate sexual health curricula to better meet the health and safety needs of adolescents and young adults in their communities.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 A new section is added to chapter 28A.300
RCW to read as follows:
(1) By September 1, 2008, every school that offers sexual health education must assure that sexual health education is medically and scientifically accurate, age-appropriate, appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, or sexual orientation, and includes information about abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. All sexual health information, instruction, and materials must be medically and scientifically accurate. Abstinence may not be taught to the exclusion of other materials and instruction on contraceptives and disease prevention. Sexual health education must be consistent with the January 2005 guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention developed by the department of health and the office of the superintendent of public instruction.
(2) As used in this act, "medically accurate" means information that is verified or supported by research in compliance with scientific methods, is published in peer-review journals, where appropriate, and is recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the field of sexual health including but not limited to the American college of obstetricians and gynecologists, the Washington state department of health, and the federal centers for disease control and prevention.
(3) The superintendent of public instruction and the department of health shall make the January 2005 guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention available to school districts, teachers, and guest speakers on their web sites. Within available resources, the superintendent of public instruction and the department of health shall make any related information, model policies, curricula, or other resources available as well.
(4) The superintendent of public instruction, in consultation with the department of health, shall develop a list of sexual health education curricula that are consistent with the 2005 guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention. This list shall be intended to serve as a resource for schools, teachers, or any other organization or community group, and shall be updated no less frequently than annually and made available on the web sites of the office of the superintendent of public instruction and the department of health.
(5) Schools that offer sexual health education are encouraged to review their sexual health curricula and choose a curriculum from the list developed under subsection (4) of this section. Any school that offers sexual health education may identify, choose, or develop any other curriculum, if the curriculum chosen or developed complies with the requirements of this section.
(6) Consistent with WAC 392-410-140, any parent or legal guardian who wishes to have his or her child excused from any planned instruction in sexual health education may do so upon filing a written request with the school district board of directors of its designee. In addition, any parent may review the sexual health education curriculum offered in his or her child's school by filing a written request with the school district board of directors, the principal of the school his or her child attends, or the principal's designee.
(7) The department of health may adopt such rules as are necessary to determine whether a curriculum constitutes a sexual health education curriculum that is consistent with the 2005 guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention.
(8) The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall, through its Washington state school health profiles survey or other existing reporting mechanism, ask schools to identify any curricula used to provide sexual health education, and shall report the results of this inquiry to the legislature on an annual basis, beginning with the 2008-09 school year.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 This act may be known and cited as the
healthy youth act.