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California Healthy Youth Act: FAQ

Comprehensive_Sexual_Health_Education Card IconComprehensive Sexual Health Education

Twin Rivers Unified is dedicated to maintaining a strong partnership with parents/guardians in our effort to provide the very best education for all students. Key to that partnership is open communication concerning issues and decisions that affect our families. On May 8, 2019, the State Board of Education approved a new framework for health education, including recommendations for teaching sex education that aligns with the California Healthy Youth Act, the state’s comprehensive sexual health education law.

Many of our families have questions or expressed concerns about what this means for health education in Twin Rivers. It is our hope that the following information provides clarity and understanding about Assembly Bill (AB) 329 and what we teach in our district.    

What is the difference between state law (California Healthy Youth Act), the new framework and Twin Rivers’ health education curriculum?

State Law: Education Code is the law of what must be taught in public schools in California. Specifically, the California Healthy Youth Act (which became law in 2016) requires schools to provide students with comprehensive sexual health education, including HIV and STD prevention education at least once in middle school and once in high school.

The Framework: This document includes new recommendations for teaching K-12 health and sex education. School districts ARE NOT required to implement the framework when developing health education programs for students. They are recommendations for teachers and administrators.  

Curriculum: This is what our schools will actually teach. Twin Rivers’ is not changing its current curriculum for the next school year for Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV Prevention Education. Any recommended changes will not be proposed until an extensive public input process.

The California Department of Education has created a helpful guide to understanding the differences between the California Healthy Youth Act and the new framework. Click here to view it.

Why do we have Family Life and comprehensive sexual health education?

The goal of a comprehensive sexual health education program is to help students learn the facts, communicate with their parents, and to make good decisions about their health now and later in life.

What are the Goals of the California Healthy Youth Act?

The California Healthy Youth Act has five primary purposes:

  • To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and from unintended pregnancy;

  • To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, marriage, and family;

  • To promote understanding of sexuality as a normal part of human development;

  • To ensure pupils receive integrated, comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased sexual health and HIV prevention instruction and provide educators with clear tools and guidance to accomplish that end;

  • To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to have healthy, positive, and safe relationships and behaviors

What are schools in TR teaching?  

Elementary

  • Schools are not required to, but may provide age-appropriate sexual health education instruction in K-6th grades. Twin Rivers is exploring supplemental material for Family Life in 5th grade. These materials—Always Changing and Growing Up—can be previewed at the following link: Always Changing and Growing Up parent preview. You may request to view these materials in person at the Twin Rivers Unified district office at 5115 Dudley Blvd, McClellan Park, 96552 (in Bay C or at our school sites).

Middle and High School

  • The District’s Family Life program includes a comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention education, once in middle school and once in high school. The programs are taught by highly-trained District personnel. The major functions of the reproductive system are described, illustrated and discussed.

  • Our curriculum for middle school and high school—Positive Prevention Plus—can be previewed at the following link: Positive Prevention Plus parent preview. You can request to view the student materials in person at the Twin Rivers Unified district office, 5115 Dudley Blvd, McClellan Park 96552, in Bay C.

Does Twin River notify parents/guardians before the instruction?

As stated in Ed Code 51938, school districts are required at the beginning of each school year, or at the time of enrollment for a new student, to inform each parent about instruction in comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention education planned for the coming year. This is done through the Student and Family Handbook given to all Twin Rivers families. You can also access the handbook in English, Spanish and Hmong, and on the Twin Rivers website: http://www.twinriversusd.org/Students--Families/District-Handbook/index.html                     

Can families opt out of sexual health lessons?

A parent or guardian of a pupil may request in writing that his or her child be excused from all or part of the Family Life or Comprehensive Sexual Health Education, HIV/AIDS prevention instruction, and any assessments related to that education. To opt out, please send a written and signed note to your child’s teacher and/or principal stating that you do not wish your child to be a part of these lessons. Your child will be given an alternative learning assignment and will be placed in a different classroom during the instruction.

Twin Rivers school Board Policy on Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV Prevention Education

BP 5030: Student Wellness

BP 5145.6: Parental Notifications

BP 6142.1: Sexual Health and HIV Prevention

BP 6142.8: Comprehensive Health Education

BP 6143: Course of Study

BP 6146.1: High School Graduation Requirement