SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out Section 32A and inserting in place thereof the following sections:-
Section 32A. Every city, town, regional school district, vocational school district or charter school implementing or maintaining a curriculum that primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues shall adopt a written policy ensuring parental or legal guardian notification of the comprehensive sexual health education provided by the school, the right of the parent or legal guardian to withdraw a student from all or part of the instruction, and the notification process to the school for withdrawal. The policy shall also include a process for parents and legal guardians to inspect the program instruction materials prior to the start of the course, if the parent or legal guardian requests to review the materials.
To the extent possible, such notification shall be provided in English and in other commonly spoken languages spoken by parents and guardians. Annually, no later than September 1, the policy shall be distributed to parents or guardians of a student in a grade that includes a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum during the upcoming academic year; provided, however, that parents or guardians shall not have less than 30 days notification prior to the start of such instruction. The policy shall be distributed in the same manner as any student handbook that is distributed to students. If student handbooks are not distributed in a certain grade, the policy shall be distributed in the same manner as other notices provided to parents and guardians at the start of the school year. Upon adoption or amendment, a copy of each district’s policy, including the name of the comprehensive sexual health education curriculum being used, shall be sent to the department of elementary and secondary education.
If a parent or guardian withdraws a student from all or part of the comprehensive sexual health education curriculum, the student shall not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty or any other sanction. An alternative educational activity shall be made available to students who have been withdrawn from instruction.
Section 32B. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
“Age-appropriate”, topics, messages, and teaching methods suitable to particular ages or age groups of children and adolescents, based on developing cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral capacity typical for that age or age group.
“Consent”, affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in interpersonal, physical, or sexual activity.
“Department”, the department of elementary and secondary education.
“Gender Identity”, a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.
“Medically accurate”, supported by peer-reviewed research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods and recognized as accurate and objective by leading medical, psychological, psychiatric and public health organizations and agencies and, if relevant, published in peer-reviewed journals.
“Sexual Orientation”, an individual’s attraction, including physical or emotional, to the same and/or different genders.
(b) Each city, town, regional school district, vocational school district, or charter school that offers sexual health education shall utilize a research-informed curriculum that offers medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexual health education. Sexual health education shall be appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and shall include, but not be limited to, teaching: (i) physical, social, and emotional changes of human development; (ii) human anatomy, reproduction, and sexual development; (iii) the benefits of abstinence and delaying sexual activity and the prevention sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancy, including the effective use of contraceptives and barrier methods and the options for pregnancy, including parenting, adoption, and abortion; (iv) ways to effectively discuss safe sexual activity; (v) relationship and communication skills to form healthy, respectful relationships free of violence, coercion, and intimidation and to make healthy decisions about relationships and sexuality, including affirmative and voluntary consent to engage in physical or sexual activity, and skills to recognize and prevent dating violence; and (vi) age-appropriate information about gender identity and sexual orientation for all students, including affirmative recognition that people have different sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, and information about resources that offer support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning students. Comprehensive sexual health education shall incorporate opportunities for students to analyze societal and media messages.
(c) Any city, town, regional school district, vocational school district or charter school that utilizes curricula consistent with the Massachusetts curriculum framework for comprehensive health shall comply with this section.
(d) The department shall promulgate rules to implement, administer, and ensure compliance with the provisions of this section.
(e) The department may determine minimum education and training qualifications for sex education instructors.
(f) Pursuant Section 1E of Chapter 69, the board of elementary and secondary education shall direct the commissioner to update the health curriculum framework, including provisions relative to sexual health education consistent with this section, upon the effective date of this act and periodically thereafter.
32C. (a) The department may promulgate regulations setting forth a complaint procedure to enforce this Act, subject to subsection (b). A final determination of a complaint by the department shall be appealable to the Massachusetts Superior Court.
(b) Any parent or guardian with a child enrolled in a city, town, regional school district, vocational school district, or charter school, or any student having legal capacity enrolled in such a school or school district, who believes the school district is not complying with the requirements of Section 32B may enforce the provisions of Section 32B of this chapter in superior court.
SECTION 2. Section 1I of Chapter 69 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the last paragraph the following:- Beginning the first academic year following the effective date of this act, each city, town, regional school district, vocational school district, or charter school shall file an annual report with the department regarding sexual health education in the district by a date and in a format to be determined by the board. Said report shall include, but not be limited to, the following data for each city, town, regional school district, vocational school district, or charter school, by grade level: (1) the name and a description of any sexual health education curricula offered; (2) the approximate number of hours spent on sexual health education; (3) the number of students receiving sexual health education; and (4) the number of students who withdrew from sexual health education, pursuant to Section 32A.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect for the academic year immediately following its passage.
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