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U.S. News

California Adopts Sex Education Standards for Public School Students

March 17, 2008

On Wednesday, California's Board of Education adopted health education content standards that fulfill a 2004 state law requiring that all high schools teach "medically accurate" information about condoms and other birth control. The state law also allows parents to opt their children out of the sex education classes.

The California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act of 2004 replaced often contradictory statutes on sex education.

The K-12 content guidelines set out what students should know about drug and alcohol use and sex education, among other topics. Fifth-grade students will learn about STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Seventh- and eighth-grade students will discuss the emotional, mental, and physical consequences of rape and sexual assault. And by high school, topics will include condoms and other forms of contraception, including emergency contraception.

"We are one giant step closer to ensuring that all of California's students receive accurate and comprehensive information about sex," said Maggie Crosby, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which had advocated for the new standards.

"We're building a house, and this is pouring the foundation," said Mary Marks, a health education consultant for the state Department of Education. "The big news is that we finally have standards, and what's exciting is that we are taking a comprehensive, holistic approach to health."

Back to other news for March 2008

Adapted from:
San Jose Mercury News
3.13.2008; Dana Hull

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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