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A04604 Summary:

COSPNSRPaulin, Lunsford, Epstein, Stirpe, Cruz, Jean-Pierre, Cook, Simon, Glick, Hyndman, Reyes, Bronson, Rozic, Lavine, Ramos, Rosenthal L, Fahy, Darling, Wallace, Seawright, Lupardo, Hevesi, Hunter, Magnarelli, Burke, Thiele, Otis, Walker, Carroll, Bichotte Hermelyn, Burdick, Clark, Dickens, Jacobson, Kelles, Meeks, Forrest, McMahon, Rajkumar, Pretlow, Dinowitz, Barrett, Mamdani, De Los Santos, Steck, Anderson, Gallagher, Raga, Shimsky, Ardila, Simone, Cunningham, Levenberg, Shrestha, Septimo, Davila, Tapia, Bores
Add §804-e, Ed L
Requires comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12 which includes a model curricula for comprehensive sexuality education and at a minimum conforms to the content and scope of national sexuality education standards.
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A04604 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Gonzalez-Rojas
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to comprehensive sexuali- ty education in schools   PURPOSE: The purpose of this legislation is to provide students with a comprehen- sive sexuality education that is age appropriate, medically accurate, and inclusive of all students.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1- Amends the education law by adding a new section 804-e. Paragraph one requires each public and charter school to provide students in grades kindergarten through twelve with comprehensive sexu- ality education. Paragraph two requires the commissioner in consultation with the commissioner of health to develop a sexuality education program. Paragraph three directs the commissioner to consult a broad range of experts in the development of the program. Paragraph four directs the commissioner to prescribe in regulations the contents and topics to be included in sexuality education. Paragraph five requires the commissioner to issue guidance to school districts and publish model curricula on the State Education Department website. Instruction shall occur no later than the school year following the effective date. Para- graph six instructs boards of education that elect not to adopt the model curricula to establish diverse advisory groups to make recommenda- tions regarding the curriculum, content, of sexuality education for the school district that conforms in content and scope to the comprehensive sexuality education program established by the commissioner. Paragraph seven requires school districts to establish a process for parents to opt their child out of select lessons regarding HIV/AIDS preven tion, in accordance with current regulations. Paragraph eight defines the term "comprehensive sexuality education". Section 2 - Effective Date   EXISTING LAW: This is a new section of law.   JUSTIFICATION: New York does not currently require sex education to be taught in schools beyond certain requirements related to HIV/AIDS. Of the public schools that do provide sex education, the curriculum is often inaccu- rate, incomplete, or biased. It often fails to prepare students to make healthy, informed, and consensual decisions about relationships. LGBTQ relationships are often stigmatized or ignored entirely. Even basic information about anatomy is inaccurate, and materials often reinforce negative gender stereotypes. Comprehensive sexuality education covers issues like healthy relation- ships, body image, and self-esteem. In kindergarten, that looks like basic lessons about friendship and communication, providing students with the building blocks they need to tackle issues like consent and sexual health years later in middle and high school. At older ages those lessons include health matters like preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Comprehensive sexuality education results in improved educational outcomes for students. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of social-emotional skills program led to significant reductions in dropout rates. Studies have also found that students who receive comprehensive sexuality education delay the initiation and reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse, have fewer sexual partners, and practice safe sex. Currently 3 in 10 women in New York become preg- nant at least once before their 20th birthdays, and teenagers represent about 50% of the new STI cases in New York. Comprehensive sexuality education is about more than reducing the rates of STIs and unintended pregnancy. Educating students about dating violence prevention, consent, and healthy relationships will reduce interpersonal violence, sexual harassment, and toxic relationships. The MeToo movement is part of a reckoning about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence in our culture. Young people are, unfortunately, not immune. Nationally, more than two thirds of teenagers who are or have been in a relationship report experiencing some form of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse. In New York City, about 12 percent of teenagers reported experiencing physical dating violence. Without comprehensive sexuality education, sexual harassment and toxic relation- ships will continue to spread. Comprehensive sexuality education will also make schools safer places for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual students are almost twice as likely as heter- osexual students to report not going to school because they felt unsafe at, or on their way to or from, school. For transgender and gender non- confirming youth, school can be even more difficult: in New York, 74% of transgender students (or those perceived as transgender) experience some form of mistreatment: 50% were verbally harassed, 23% report being physically assaulted, and 12% experienced sexual violence between kindergarten and 12th grade. School victimization has been linked with decreased academic achievement, increased suicide ideation, increased rates of absenteeism, and negative impacts on their emotional health. Comprehensive sexuality education that dispels stigma around sexuality and gender combats discrimination, bullying, and harassment and promotes respect for all youth. Across party lines, parents overwhelmingly support comprehensive sexual- ity education in schools. According to a national poll of parents, 93.5% feel it is important that sex education is taught in middle school, and 96% feel it is important that sex education is taught in high school. All young people deserve the knowledge, skills, and resources to make healthy and informed decisions about their bodies and relationships. Comprehensive sexuality education will empower and educate students to protect their health and build their futures - without shame or judg- ment. It is critical that New York students receive this education.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.6616 - 2021/2022 A.6512- 2019/2020 A.10517- 2018   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2024
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