(The Center Square) – The passage of a Senate bill relative to providing sexual health education to students in public and private schools Thursday drew accolades from one state advocacy group.
Senate Bill No. 2541 passed by a 38-1 margin. The bill, known as the Healthy Youth Act, requires schools to file a biennial report on sexual education health with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on curriculum, classroom hour dedicated to instruction and the number of students who withdrew from the class.
The Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance tweeted its support of the bill that will “provide MA youth the foundation they need to protect their health and plan their futures.”
We are excited to share the Healthy Youth Act passed the MA Senate in a 38-1 vote! An Act relative to Healthy Youth (S.2534) will provide MA youth the foundation they need to protect their health and plan their futures. TY Sen. @SalDiDomenico for sponsoring this important bill! https://t.co/L5GnAZNHin— MOVA (@MassMOVA) September 23, 2021
Sen. Sal Domenico, D-Middlesex and Norfolk, who serves as assistant majority leader, sponsored the bill aimed at offering comprehensive and inclusive sexual health education to Massachusetts students.
The @MA_Senate overwhelmingly votes to pass the #HealthyYouthAct once again! A BIG THANK YOU to the incredible HYA coalition members for their YEARS of tireless work to get comprehensive & inclusive #sexed here in MA. Let’s go get this bill across the finish line! #mapoli pic.twitter.com/CUM4kLm7J4— Sal DiDomenico (@SalDiDomenico) September 23, 2021
Under the bill, the biennial report is then transferred to the state Department of Health with in 30 days of filing. The bill also provides for a process for a parent or guardian, before the course begins, to review course materials.
The bill also requires school districts to distribute the school’s policy to parents and guardians by Sept. 1 for all courses to be taught during the academic year. The policy must also be sent to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Schools, the bill reads.
The bill requires that sexual health education be conducted in a “medically accurate, age-appropriate” manner, and that it is made available to all students, regardless of gender, race, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity, the bill reads.
Topics to be included, under the bill, include human development spanning emotional, physical and social health, in addition to abstinence, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and effective use of contraceptives.