Orange County Register
9.4.15 | Roxana Kopetman
California legislators are poised to expand high school sex education, with the nation’s first law directing teachers to tell students about sexual consent.
The California Senate is expected to vote Friday, Sept. 4, on SB695, which would require most public school districts to teach students in health classes about such issues as sexual harassment, assault, violence and the importance of developing positive and healthy relationships. If approved, the bill would head to Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration.
The bill by Sen. Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, piggybacks on the “yes means yes” bill passed last year. That law, also the first of its kind, requires state-funded colleges to beef up investigations of sexual assault reports and establish clear rules about sexual consent.
Supporters describe the laws as part of a national conversation about sexual assaults on campuses.
“If we want to prevent sexual assault, it’s important that we start early,” Jackson said in a statement.
“This bill will ensure that discussions about healthy relationships and consent are taking place in high school, with young women and young men, so we can help establish boundaries of acceptable behavior... and prevent sexual assault before it occurs.”
In California, sex education is not required, but about 96 percent of the state’s school districts provide it, according to the California Department of Education website.
School districts typically include sex education as part of a required health course, often taken during freshman year. Instruction on HIV and AIDS prevention is obligatory for all schools.