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Massachusetts Senate passes sex education bill

Massachusetts State House-052919
This Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 photo shows the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston. Massachusetts House lawmakers preparing for debate on the state’s $42.7 billion budget have submitted more than 1,300 amendments to the July 1 fiscal year spending plan _ but several of the more contentious issues facing the Legislature appear to be off the table for now. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Massachusetts Senate passes sex education bill

September 24, 08:30 AM September 24, 08:31 AM

The passage of a Senate bill Thursday related to providing sexual health education to students in public and private schools 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, would require 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 would “provide MA youth the foundation they need to protect their health and plan their futures.”

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.

Under the bill, the biennial report would then transferr to the state Department of Health within 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 would require 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 would require 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.

Topics to be addressed include human development spanning emotional, physical and social health, in addition to abstinence, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and effective use of contraceptives.

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