Sexual Health Education
All instruction and materials for the district’s sexual health education program, will meet the following criteria:
- Medically and scientifically accurate;
- Age appropriate;
- Appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status or sexual orientation;
- Consistent with the OSPI Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention;
- Include instruction about abstinence; and
- Include instruction about contraceptives and other methods of disease prevention.
The district’s program will provide sexual health education as defined by the Healthy Youth Act.
Sexual health education:
The Healthy Youth Act defines sexual health education as:
- The physiological, psychological and sociological developmental processes experienced by an individual;
- The development of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to communicate respectfully and effectively to reduce health risks and choose healthy behaviors;
- Health care and prevention resources;
- The development of meaningful relationships and avoidance of exploitative relationships; and
- Understanding of the influences of family, peers, community and the media throughout life on healthy sexual relationships.
Medically and scientifically accurate:
The Healthy Youth Act defines medically and scientifically accurate as 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 (DOH) and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2005 Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention:
This publication, prepared by the DOH and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), provides the fundamental framework for establishing a medically and scientifically accurate sexual health education program for students. A copy of the Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention is located on the DOH and OSPI Web sites.
Adoption of a Sexual Health Education Program
School districts will involve parents and community groups in the planning, development, evaluation and revision of any instruction in sexual health education offered as a part of the school program.
The district must ensure that all instructional materials are medically and scientifically accurate. The DOH is available to provide technical assistance in determining medical and scientific accuracy. When choosing curriculum, district staff may examine the list of materials reviewed for medical and scientific accuracy that are located on the DOH website at www.doh.wa.gov.
In determining curriculum, the district staff may review the OSPI’s list of commonly used sexual health education curricula that were reviewed for their alignment with the guidelines. Although the list is not exhaustive, the list is updated annually and is posted on the OSPI website at www.k12.wa.us. Staff may also apply the OSPI Sexual Health Education Alignment tool to curriculum under consideration as a resource in assessing the curriculum. Ultimately, the district’s sexual health education program will ensure that in the K-12 life of a child, the sexual health education program is consistent with the 2005 Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention.
For technical assistance, staff may contact the Health and Sexuality Education Program supervisor at the OSPI.
Parental/Guardian Notification Process
One month prior to teaching a program in sexual health education, each school will provide written notice to parents of the planned instruction.
Parent/Guardian Material Review Process
One month prior to providing instruction in sexual health education, the district will notify parents that all instructional materials are available to parents/guardians for inspection. The materials will include written materials and electronically formatted materials. The opportunity for inspection will be provided at a time and place convenient for parent/guardian participation such as evenings or weekends.
Excluding Student from a Program/Opt-Out
A parent/guardian who wishes to have a student excused from planned instruction in sexual health education must file a written request with the board of directors or its designee, at least 5 days prior to the planned instruction. The district will make the appropriate opt-out form available. Excused students will be provided with appropriate alternative educational opportunities. Sample notification and opt out letters are available from OSPI.