NYS Legislative Agenda: Promote Comprehensive Sexual Health Education

Promote Comprehensive Sexual Health Education

While New York mandates health education for all students, there is no requirement for sexual health education. It is up to each local school district to decide whether to provide students additional sexual health education instruction and what that education might entail.  Age-appropriate training efforts must begin early, before students’ ideas become relatively fixed. Comprehensive sexual health education is an important tool in proactively confronting and avoiding sexual harassment, sexual assault and teen dating violence.  A common statewide educational module available for K-12 students will create a better understanding of safe, healthy relationships, while helping to prevent violence. A sexual health education program can only be considered comprehensive when it is medically accurate, age-appropriate, free from bias, and includes information about contraception in addition to abstinence.  A program that contains all of these elements is the most effective way to help young people learn relationship and decision-making skills, postpone intercourse, reduce their number of sexual partners, decrease their chance of facing an unintended pregnancy, and reduce their chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.  New York should establish an age-appropriate sexual health education grant program, which includes tracking, reporting and enforcement standards, to ensure all school districts have the resources necessary for these important courses.