Note: Governor Brown sign High School Affirmative Consent Bill (DeLeon) SB 695
Orange County Register (Associated Press)
10.1.15 | LISA LEFF
SAN FRANCISCO – Gov. Jerry Brown has approved legislation aimed at making California the first state in the nation to bring lessons about sexual consent required at many colleges into high schools, his office announced Thursday.
Last year, California became the first to require colleges and universities to apply an “affirmative consent” or “yes means yes” standard when investigating campus sexual assault claims. That policy says sexual activity is only considered consensual when both partners clearly state their willingness to participate through “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” at every stage.
The legislation Brown endorsed requires that school districts include health as a graduation requirement to teach about “yes means yes” and sexual violence prevention starting next year. It also asks state education officials to update curriculum guidelines for high school health classes with information about those topics.
“California must continue to lead the nation in educating our young people — both women and men — about the importance of respect and maintaining healthy peer and dating relationships,” Assemblyman Rocky Chvez, R-Oceanside, said after the bill cleared the Assembly in September.
The measure had no organized opposition and received near-unanimous bipartisan support in the Legislature. Supporters said it was needed to teach teenagers about healthy sexual boundaries and relationships before they get to college and into the workforce.
In July, New York became the second state to write the affirmative consent standard into law for college campuses. But it’s becoming the norm at colleges around the country that are under the same pressure to reduce and better handle sexual assault cases.