If a bill in Kentucky’s General Assembly passes, school districts would be mandated to provide age-suitable sex education to fourth through 12th-grade students. This education would include premarital abstinence and sexually transmitted disease prevention.
The majority of parents avoid talking to their kids about sex because of its embarrassing nature. That’s according to the bill’s sponsor Dem. State Rep. Tom Burch. He said his House Bill 80 was designed to give students the information they needed about their body.
Burch said a little knowledge never hurts anybody.
Dem. State Rep. Kelly Flood co-sponsored the bill saying she tried learning what type of sex education Kentucky fourth-graders were getting and discovered it varied by districts.
The legislation would mean the state’s Board of Education would need to develop regulations and guidelines that set up a plan for school districts to teach sex education. Each school would need to prepare topics of discussion for the 2019-2020 school year. Besides teaching students about how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, students would also learn about personal body safety, human sexuality, human growth and development from certified instructors.
Students would also learn about responsible sexual behaviors and violence-free healthy relationship. Students in the fourth and fifth grade would get one week of instruction, students in the sixth through eighth grade would get three weeks of instruction while high school students would have to take a course for one semester, as a prerequisite for graduation.
Parents would be permitted to learn over the curriculum to determine if their child will or will not participate.
Lisa Deffendall, spokeswoman for the Fayette County School District, said their schools are following the Kentucky State Academic Health Standards, which are currently being rewritten. However, standards are not curriculum, as they have broader parameters than curriculum, which is designed at a district level.
University of Kentucky associate professor Kristen Mark works with the Lex Ed group, which has been asking the education board of the Fayette County Public Schools to embrace sex education guidelines for their students to stop unwanted pregnancies and STDs. According to group members, the school district’s sex education teachings are inconsistent.
Mark, who favors the bill, said it would mean schools would have to provide age-appropriate sex education to their students. She called it a great step forward for the state.