A DFL-backed bill on “sexual health education” in the Minnesota House would require public-school teachers to discuss “healthy relationships, including relationships involving diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.”
House File (HF) 1414 was introduced February 21 and referred to the Education Policy Committee. It would mandate that the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, in “consultation with the commissioner of health and other qualified experts,” identify “one or more model comprehensive sexual education programs for elementary and secondary school students.”
This “model program” must “include medically accurate instruction that is age and developmentally appropriate” on a number of topics, including “consent, bodily autonomy, and healthy relationships, including relationships involving diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.”
The bill defines “consent” as the “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in interpersonal, physical, or sexual activity.” It would also require teachers to touch on topics such as “abstinence and other methods for preventing unintended pregnancy,” as well as “the relationship between substance use and sexual behavior and health.”
Under HF 1414, school districts and charter schools would be required to implement a “comprehensive sexual health education program” based on the “model program” outlined above by the 2020-2021 school year.
Implementation of the program must “respect community values and encourage students to communicate with parents or guardians; faith, health, and social services professionals; and other trusted adults about sexuality and intimate relationships.”
Additionally, the bill calls for responding to “culturally diverse individuals, families, and communities in an inclusive, respectful, and effective manner.” Schools must also provide “students with information about local resources where students may obtain medically accurate information and services related to sexual and reproductive health, dating, violence, and sexual assault.”
The bill was introduced by Rep. Todd Lippert (D-Northfield) and is co-sponsored by four other DFL legislators.
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