Healthy Youth Act
Sexual Health Education
Comprehensive Sexual Health Education
Washington law on sexual health education states that "the decision as to whether or not a program about sexual health education is to be introduced into the common schools is a matter for determination at the district level by the local school board." Any district that chooses to provide sexual health education must follow the requirements outlined in the Healthy Youth Act. Additional information for schools is included in the related WAC 392-410-140.
All sexual health education offered in Washington public schools must meet the following criteria:
All instruction and materials used must be:
- medically and scientifically accurate
- age appropriate
- appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability status
- consistent with the Guidelines for Sexual Health and Disease Prevention
Abstinence may not be taught to the exclusion of instruction and materials on FDA approved contraceptives and other disease prevention methods. In other words, the instruction must be comprehensive.
Another law (RCW 28A.230.020, Common School Curriculum) requires that "all teachers shall stress the importance of...methods to prevent exposure to and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases..." No additional specificity is included in this statute, although K-12 Health Education Standards provide examples of age-appropriate grade-level learning outcomes.
Tools for Educators
- Sexual Health Education Requirements in Washington State: Frequently Asked Questions.
- Sample SHE Instruction Parent Waiver
For more information and tools for implementing WA State requirements related to HIV and Sexual Health Education, please see our Resources page.