Sexual and reproductive health is important-- and in order to own your health, it’s important to have all the right info. Sex ed should meet the needs of all teens, no matter where they live or who they love.
In 2015, California lawmakers acted on those ideas, and thanks to a law called the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA), California public schools are required to make comprehensive sex ed classes available for public school students between grades 7-12, at least once in middle school and once in high school.
Here are just some of the things that California public school kids grades 7-12 must receive information about thanks to CHYA:
- Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sex trafficking
- Adolescent relationship abuse, intimate partner violence and sexual coercion
- Sexual orientation and sexuality
- Gender identity, gender roles and gender stereotypes
- Healthy relationships
- Consent, communication and healthy decision-making
- HIV prevention and other STD prevention including testing and treatment
- Pregnancy prevention, parenting, adoption and abortion
- Local health care services
The catch is, so far this law only applies to public schools, which means that charter schools aren’t held to the same standards. Right now, California lawmakers are deciding whether or not to extend CHYA to charter schools.
While the teen pregnancy rate is going down, the STD rate in California is at an all-time high, with some of the highest transmission rates among young people. Comprehensive sex ed is one tool to help teens own their health.
Remember: if you are a public school student in California, it is your RIGHT to receive this information. Are you a public school student, but NOT receiving comprehensive sex ed? Speak up! Contact the ACLU so they can help you make sure your school is providing comprehensive sex education and following the law.
Learn more about other rights you have as a California youth to get sexual and reproductive health care.