Policy ECH - Curriculum: Sex Education
Issue Date: Marach 26, 2019
Updated: January 18, 2023
The following definitions apply in this policy:
1. "Curriculum materials review committee (committee)" means a committee formed at the District or school level, as determined by the Board of Education, that includes parents, health professionals, school health educators, and administrators, with at least as many parents as school employees. The membership of the committee shall be appointed and reviewed annually by August 1 of each year by the Board, shall meet on a regular basis as determined by the membership, shall select its own officers and shall be subject to the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act.
2. “Sex education instruction or instructional programs” means any course material, unit, class, lesson, activity or presentation that, as the focus of the discussion, provides instruction or information to students about sexual abstinence, human sexuality, human reproduction, reproductive anatomy, physiology, pregnancy, marriage, childbirth, parenthood, contraception, HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases, or refusal skills. While these topics are most likely discussed in such courses as health education, health occupations, human biology, physiology, parenting, adult roles, psychology, sociology, child development, and biology, this rule applies to any course or class in which these topics are the focus of discussion.
3. “Refusal skills” means instruction (1) in a student’s ability to clearly and expressly refuse sexual advances (by a minor or by an adult), (2) in a student’s obligation to stop the student’s sexual advances if refused by another individual, (3) informing a student of the student’s right to report and seek counseling for unwanted sexual advances, (4) in sexual harassment, and (5) informing a student that a student may not consent to criminally prohibited activities or activities for which the student is legally prohibited from giving consent, including the electronic transmission of sexually explicit images by an individual of the individual or another.
4. "Maturation education" means instruction and materials used to provide fifth or sixth grade students with age appropriate, medically accurate information regarding the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty, to assist in protecting students from abuse and to promote hygiene and good health practices.
5. “Medically accurate” means verified or supported by a body of research conducted in compliance with scientific methods and published in journals that have received peer review, where appropriate, and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant field, such as the American Medical Association.
Sex Education Instruction Requirement
Subject to parental permission, a student shall receive sex education instruction on at least two occasions during the period that begins with the beginning of grade 8 and ends with the end of grade 12.
Parental Notification and Permission Form Required for Participation
Students may not participate in any sex education instruction or instructional program unless, prior to the student’s participation, the school has on file for that student a completed parental notification form relating to that specific instruction or program which indicates that the student’s parent or guardian authorizes the student to participate. The form shall (1) explain a parent’s right to review proposed curriculum materials in a timely manner, (2) request the parent’s permission to instruct the parent’s student in identified course material related to sex education or maturation education, (3) allow the parent to exempt the parent’s student from attendance from a class period where the identified sex education or maturation instruction is presented and discussed, (4) be specific enough to give parents fair notice of topics to be covered, and (5) include a brief explanation of the topics and materials to be presented and provide a time, place and contact person for review of the identified curricular materials. Completed permission forms shall be maintained in the student’s educational records for a reasonable period of time.
If a student is exempted from participation in sex education or maturation education, the District shall either waive the participation requirement or provide a reasonable alternative to the requirement.
Health and Sex Education Guidelines
All health and sex education shall stress the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as methods of preventing sexually transmitted diseases. The curriculum and education shall also stress personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity in marriage. At no time may instruction be provided, including responses to spontaneous questions raised by students, regarding any means or methods that facilitate or encourage the violation of any state or federal criminal law by a minor or an adult.
Nothing in this policy precludes an educator from responding to a spontaneous question provided that the response is consistent with this policy.
The following may not be taught in District schools:
1. the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;
2. the advocacy of premarital or extramarital sexual activity; or
3. the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptives methods or devices.
Sexual Abuse Prevention and Awareness
Schools in the District may provide instruction to elementary school students on child sexual abuse prevention and awareness using the instructional materials approved by the State Board of Education for that purpose. However, before an individual student may receive this instruction, the student's parent or guardian must be notified in advance of the instruction and the content of the instruction and of the parent or guardian's right to have the student excused from the instruction, given an opportunity to review the instruction materials, and be allowed to be present when the instruction is delivered. A parental permission form (as outlined above) must be received for each student before that student receives the instruction. Upon the written request of a parent or guardian, a student shall be excused from the instruction.
Instructional Staff Training and In-service
District staff who have responsibility for some aspect of sex education instruction in the District may include administrators, teachers, counselors, teacher’s assistants, or coaches, but are not necessarily limited to those categories.
In their first year of service or assignment, all newly hired or newly assigned District staff who have responsibility for any aspect of sex education instruction in the District will attend a State-sponsored in-service outlining the sex education curriculum and the criteria for sex education instruction in any courses offered in the public education system.
All District staff who have any responsibility for any aspect of sex education instruction in the District will attend District training outlining the sex education curriculum and the criteria for sex education instruction in any courses offered in the public education system at least once every three (3) years.
Sex Education Curriculum Materials Review Committee
The Board of Education shall appoint a District Sex Education Curriculum Materials Review Committee. This committee shall be composed of parents, health professionals, school health educators, and administrators, with at least as many parent members as school employee members. The Board shall appoint and review the membership of the committee by August 1 of each year, making new appointments as necessary or appropriate.
The District Sex Education Curriculum Materials Review Committee shall meet on a regular basis as determined by the members of the committee, shall select officers, shall establish procedures for operation, shall designate a chair, and shall comply with the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act.
Review of Guest Presentations Relating to Sex Education
Before any guest speaker or guest presenter may present any information in any District course relating to sex education instruction, the speaker and presenter and the materials to be presented must have been approved by the District Sex Education Curriculum Materials Review Committee.
The committee shall not authorize the use of any sex education instructional program which has not been previously approved for use in the District as set forth below regarding curriculum approval.
Adoption of District Sex Education Instructional Materials
The Board of Education hereby adopts for use in the schools of the District the sex education instructional materials recommended by the State Board of Education. All sex education instruction in the District shall make use of those instructional materials.
Following adoption of sex education instruction materials which have not previously been approved by the State Instructional Materials Commission, the Board shall report such adoption to the State Board of Education. That report shall provide a copy of the materials, documentation of the adoption of the materials at the Boar meeting, documentation that the materials are medically accurate, documentation of the committee recommendations, and the Board’s rationale for adopting the materials.
The Board of Education shall annually review the decision to adopt the sex education instructional materials used in the District, and shall consider whether to continue use of those materials.
Monitoring of Sex Education Instruction
Each school in the District shall log and track all parental or community complaints and comments resulting from student participation in sex education instruction in the school, including disposition of any complaints made. This information shall be provided to District administration on a monthly basis during the school year.
District administration shall compile and maintain records of parental or community complaints and comments resulting from student participation in sex education instruction in the District, including disposition of complaints, and shall provide that information to the State Superintendent upon request.