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Home » Student Success » Resources by Subject Area » Sexual Health Education » Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Implementation

Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Implementation

Contact Information

Sexual Health Education

360-725-6364

Senate Bill 5395, passed by the Legislature and Washington voters in 2020, went into effect on December 3, 2020 (see Bulletin 092-20). It requires all public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education (CSHE) to all students by the 2022–23 school year.

Requirements

By the 2022-23 school year, all schools must provide comprehensive sexual health education (CSHE) to all students. Instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards, which provide a framework for comprehensive instruction and the provisions of the law. Grade level outcomes are provided as examples only and do not represent a required course of instruction. Instruction must also be age-appropriate, medically and scientifically accurate, and inclusive of all students, using language and strategies that recognize all members of protected classes. 

  • Schools must provide social emotional learning (SEL) to students in grades K−3. There is no sexual health content required for students in grades K–3.
  • Schools must provide CSHE at least once in grades 4−5. "Once" will generally be a unit of instruction in at least one grade, with enough instruction to address required content and skill development as reflected in the Health Education K-12 Learning Standards.
  • Schools must provide CSHE at least twice in grades 6−8 and at least twice in grades 9−12. "Twice" will generally be two units of instruction in at least two grades per grade band, with enough instruction to address required content and skill development as reflected in the Health Education K-12 Learning Standards.
  • Instruction must include language and strategies that recognize all members of protected classes.
  • Schools must inform OSPI of any curricula used to provide comprehensive sexual health education and describe how their instruction aligns with the requirements of the bill (OSPI has provided a reporting tool).

The required content is:

  • In grades K-3, instruction must be in Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) - learning to do things like manage feelings, set goals, and get along with others. Instruction must be consistent with Social and Emotional Learning Standards and Benchmarks. (Note: there is no sexuality content required for students in grades K-3.)
  • In grades 4-12, instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards, must be inclusive, using language and strategies that recognize all members of protected classes, and must include age-appropriate, medically/scientifically, inclusive information about:
    • The physiological, psychological, and sociological developmental processes experienced by an individual;
    • Abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases;
    • Health care and prevention resources;
    • The development of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to communicate, respectfully and effectively, to reduce health risks and choose healthy behaviors and relationships based on mutual respect and affection, and free from violence, coercion, and intimidation;
    • The development of meaningful relationships and avoidance of exploitative relationships;
    • Understanding the influences of family, peers, community, and the media throughout life on healthy sexual relationships;
    • Affirmative consent and recognizing and responding safely and effectively when violence or a risk of violence is or may be present, with strategies that include bystander training. 

Affirmative consent as defined in RCW 28A.300.475 is an approach to giving and receiving consent that includes enthusiastic, "conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity as a requirement before sexual activity." It is not just the absence of “no.” Since the law also says that instruction must be age-appropriate and most 4th and 5th-grade students are not engaged in sexual activity, age-appropriate instruction might focus on hugs or horseplay, hand-holding, kissing or other touch, as well as virtual contact such as texts or emails or taking photos. Instruction in these grades does not need to address sexual behavior unless the district has decided to do so for a specific reason (e.g. 6th-grade Healthy Youth Survey data that suggests a need). Bystander training teaches students how to safely intervene when they see bullying, sexual harassment, or unwanted physical touch. These topics are included in this legislation as a way for schools to combat the high rates of unwanted sexual contact experienced by youth in our state. 

Beginning after the 2021-22 school year (no later than Aug. 31 each year), all schools must report annually to OSPI on the following:

  • Identify any curricula used to provide comprehensive sexual health education during the current/most recent school year
  • Describe how classroom instruction aligns with the requirements of RCW 28A.300.475

To assist schools in meeting this requirement, OSPI has provided a reporting survey. Schools must use the online reporting survey provided and are encouraged to submit their reports by June 30 each year for the current/most recent school year. 

Beginning after the 2022-23 school year, OSPI must summarize and report the results of the school reports to the legislature biennially.

A PDF version of the reporting tool is available to assist with preparing for completion of the report.

Requirements by Grade Band

Schools must provide social-emotional learning (SEL) to students in grades K-3, consistent with SEL Standards and Benchmarks. SEL provides skills to do things like cope with feelings, set goals, and get along with others. No sexuality content or curriculum will be required, although districts may choose to offer additional instruction in alignment with K-12 Learning Standards for Health Education.

Schools must provide comprehensive sexual health education no later than 5th grade. Instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards. Grade-level outcomes are provided as examples only and do not represent a required course of instruction.

Required topics of instruction are described in RCW 28A.300.475. Instruction should include a focus on helping students understand and respect personal boundaries, develop healthy friendships, and gain a basic understanding of human growth and development. Currently required HIV/STD prevention instruction will continue to be required.

Instruction must be provided at least “once” (a unit of instruction in at least one grade), including the following topics of instruction:

  • HIV/STD prevention (required annually starting no later than grade 5).
  • Human growth and development.
  • Affirmative consent (understanding and respecting personal boundaries).
  • Bystander intervention (how to safely intervene when witnessing bullying, harassment, or sexual violence).
  • Healthy relationships (with friends and family).
  • How to avoid exploitative relationships.

Schools must provide comprehensive sexual health education at least twice in grades 6-8. Best practice suggests providing instruction over time, building on earlier instruction. Instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards. Grade-level outcomes are provided as examples only and do not represent a required course of instruction.

Required topics of instruction are described in RCW 28A.300.475, with a focus on helping students understand and respect personal boundaries, develop healthy friendships and dating relationships, gain a deeper understanding of human growth and development, develop skills to support choosing healthy behaviors, and reduce health risks, including abstinence and other STD/pregnancy prevention approaches, and understanding the influence of family and society on healthy sexual relationships. Students must receive age-appropriate instruction on affirmative consent and bystander training. Schools must continue providing HIV/STD prevention education, which must start no later than 5th grade and be provided annually through 12th grade.

Instruction must be provided at least “twice” (a unit of instruction in two or more grades). Ideally, this would be a unit of instruction in at least two different grades, and there are many possible strategies for providing all required content. Learning standards will help districts determine how to scaffold instruction to meet changing developmental needs across grades, which should include the following topics of instruction at least once in this grade band:

  • HIV/STD prevention (required annually).
  • Human growth and development.
  • Choosing healthy behaviors and reducing health risks (including abstinence, condom use, and contraceptives).
  • Affirmative consent (understanding and respecting personal boundaries, including sexual boundaries).
  • Bystander intervention (how to safely intervene when witnessing bullying, harassment, or sexual violence).
  • Healthy relationships (with friends, family, and dating relationships).
  • Understand the influence of family, peers, community, and media on healthy sexual relationships.
  • How to avoid exploitative relationships and the consequences of sexual offenses involving minors.

Schools must provide comprehensive sexual health education at least twice in grades 9-12. Ideally, this would be a unit of instruction in at least two different grades, and there are many possible strategies for providing all required content. Best practice suggests providing instruction over time, building on earlier instruction. Instruction must be consistent with Health Education K-12 Learning Standards. Grade-level outcomes are provided as examples only and do not represent a required course of instruction.

Required topics of instruction are described in RCW 28A.300.475, with a focus on helping students understand and respect personal boundaries, develop healthy friendships and dating relationships, gain a deeper understanding of human growth and development, develop skills to support choosing healthy behaviors and reduce health risks, including abstinence and other STD/pregnancy prevention methods, how to access valid health care and prevention resources and understanding the influence of family and society on healthy sexual relationships. Students must receive age-appropriate instruction on affirmative consent and bystander training. Schools must continue providing HIV/STD prevention education, which must start no later than 5th grade and be provided annually through 12th grade.

Instruction must be provided at least “twice” (a unit of instruction in two or more grades). Ideally, this would be a unit of instruction in at least two different grades, and there are many possible strategies for providing all required content. Learning standards will help districts determine how to scaffold instruction to meet changing developmental needs across grades, which should include the following topics of instruction at least once in this grade band:

  • HIV/STD prevention (required annually).
  • Affirmative consent (understanding and respecting personal boundaries, including sexual boundaries).
  • Human growth and development refresher.
  • Choosing healthy behaviors and reducing health risks (including abstinence, condom use, and contraceptives).
  • How to identify and access valid health care and prevention resources.
  • Bystander intervention (how to safely intervene when witnessing bullying, harassment, or sexual violence).
  • Healthy Relationships (with friends, family, and dating relationships).
  • Understand the influence of family, peers, community, and media on healthy sexual relationships.
  • How to avoid exploitative relationships and the consequences of sexual offenses involving minors.


Materials & Resources

Schools may use curricula and other instructional materials that have been reviewed by OSPI and the state Department of Health (DOH) for consistency with these provisions of the law or may choose to develop and/or review materials themselves with OSPI-developed review tools. OSPI does not approve or develop curriculum.

Curriculum, instruction, materials, and guest speakers must be medically and scientifically accurate, and consistent with the provisions outlined in the law.

Curriculum, instruction, materials, and guest speakers must be inclusive, using language and strategies that recognize all members of protected classes (see HIV and Sexual Health Education Resources).

Districts conducting their own reviews of sexual health education materials (rather than using OSPI-reviewed materials) must use OSPI-developed instructional materials review tools to ensure that materials meet requirements. Note: All review instruments have been updated to reflect the requirements of RCW 28A.300.475.

District Resources

Parent/Guardian Materials

Parents and guardians must be notified in advance of planned instruction, must be able to review all CSHE instructional materials, and must be given the opportunity to opt their child out of CSHE instruction.

Tags: 
Sex Ed
Referendum 90
Ref 90
R90
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