Healthy Youth

The “healthy youth” bill that we just passed in the Senate requires that if a public school offers sex education, the curriculum should be age-appropriate, medically-accurate and comprehensive.

Sex education does not make students more likely to engage in sex too early or engage in other risky behaviors.  On the contrary, students who have a full understanding of the possible consequences of sex, including pregnancy and venereal disease, are more likely to make healthy decisions.

Out of respect for local control of education, the bill does not require a school district to offer sex education.

Nor does it reduce the control of parents over the education of their children in districts that do choose to offer sex education.  Under existing law, schools are required to notify parents that they are planning to teach sex education.  Schools must allow parents to withdraw their children from any or all portions of a sex education program.  The new law preserves these rights for parents and, in fact, strengthens them by clarifying the notification policies and assuring access to course materials for inspection by parents.

But, the bill does specify that if a school district teaches sex education, the sex education curriculum must include the following required topics: 

The bill explicitly contemplates that the curriculum should teach “the benefits of abstinence and delaying sexual activity.”  This language strikes a balance between those who might advocate that abstinence be the exclusive message in sex education and those who feel it is important to recognize that some students may make the choice to engage in sex.  If students are going to engage in sex, they should do so with full understanding of human reproduction and the risks of unprotected sex.

Sometimes young people fail to use contraception because they are uncomfortable in bringing it up.  The bill also requires the curriculum to include skill development, helping students to learn how to  “effectively discuss safe sexual activity.” 

The bill also speaks to the issue of consent and coercion in relationships, requiring skill development to “form healthy, respectful relationships.”  Hopefully, this will help to reduce dating violence.

Finally, the bill requires that sex education include “age-appropriate information about gender identity and sexual orientation for all students.” The hope is that this element of the curriculum will make the program fully relevant to all students, including LGBTQ students.  LGBTQ students should not feel left out of health education. Including them will support them emotionally, help them reduce risky behaviors and may give other students insights that will reduce bullying.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) prepares curriculum frameworks for teaching in Massachusetts schools.  These are intended to guide teachers in developing their lessons.

Generally, these frameworks are developed by DESE without detailed guidance from the legislature.   In this case, the legislature is providing an outline for the content of the curriculum because of the political sensitivity of the issue and to support DESE in releasing a more comprehensive curriculum.

While the issues raised by sex education are always delicate, the bill was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 33-2 in the senate.  My hope is that the bill that the senate has passed will be accepted by the House and by the Governor and that DESE will move forward and promulgate a sex education curriculum framework that will help students make better decisions in those school districts that choose to adopt it.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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20 Comments

  1. Just the fact that Planned Parenthood is involved in implementing this program should set off alarm bells for any responsible parent in the Commonwealth. Oh, I forgot, they have your parenthood all planned out ! Their Orwellian definition of “abstinence” will amaze you. These are the folks that have that wonderful organ harvesting program exposed in the Delieden case in California, where according to their own testimony (which they are trying to suppress), they cut the beating hearts out of live babies to gain the freshest specimens for sale. Before we apply Aztec science to our education system, don’t you think we should give this kind of social experimentation some serious thought — especially where it involves parental rights and choice?

  2. Meant to brainwash little kids to make them wonder what gender they are.
    So, for example, if they regard Tom Brady as their hero and have feelings of admiration, the young boy will wonder “Am I gay?”
    This is the truth of what is happening no matter how much Will wishes to avert his gaze.

    The child is also taught, unnecessarily, that there are plenty of transgender people around.
    Thus, “Maybe I am really a girl?” asks little Johnny.
    Will just loves this PC stuff. Keeps the LGBT crowd from getting angry at him and keeps him in office.

    See below – this is the sort of thing in Massachusetts that Will does not object to. He has never criticized it: Drag Queen Story Hour – drag queens reading to the littlest kids in public libraries and schools, again to brainwash them.

    Read it:
    https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org
    It’s in Boston and all over. Don’t talk against it, Will.
    LGBT will get angry at you. Then what?

  3. Thank you for advocating for this. I am almost 50, and when I was in high school speech competitions, my speech was about how we needed better sex education in schools. I’m floored that we still need this bill today, but we might even need it more. Many adults of my generation still have a lot of misinformation about things like gender identity, pregnancy, and sexual diseases because of the failure of our school system to adequately teach us this information when we needed it.

    1. Hi Monica:
      A lot of the sex-ed today is brainwashing by LGBT people to get kids confused.
      Please don’t be fooled.
      They are teaching things such as anal sex to very young kids.
      It is totally different from what was taught some years back.
      Check this out – it’s in Boston and elsewhere and it is degrading and unnecessary:
      https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/
      Some of the drag queens reading to 3 year old children have been convicted sex offenders. Want proof? See here:
      https://www.theepochtimes.com/past-sex-offenders-participate-in-childrens-drag-queen-story-hour-at-local-libraries_3052840.html
      https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/april/second-drag-queen-story-hour-reader-in-houston-exposed-as-a-convicted-child-sex-offender

      Will does not want you to know what is really going on. Neither does the Boston Globe. It is all being hidden by people such as Will and by most major media so that you won’t know about it and can’t object.
      People are fooled by the term “sex-education” and think it’s just about how not to have an unwanted pregnancy and how to avoid disease. It’s not.

      Here is a drag queen stripping and dancing for little children:
      https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/october/librarys-drag-queen-story-hour-strip-show-goes-viral

      The overall goal is to sexualize children at an inappropriate age. Will is part of it, wittingly or not.

  4. I think this language strikes an appropriate balance for all sides of the issue. Thanks for your work on this

    1. i agree with Bill. if we keep relying on hate speech, we will never come to a reasonable position. i’m disappointed i. your posters.
      one of my family members ended up with a child at age 17 because nobody had told him anything. let’s be fair to the kids

  5. I appreciate these updates, Sen. Brownsberger!
    The healthy youth bill sounds good. Thank you for supporting it.

  6. Sexuality,birth control, and other related topics were included in the biology course I taught in Boston secondary schools in the 1970’s. I am amazed that this topic is still controversial.

  7. Thank you for your support of the Healthy Youth Act. Age-appropriate, medically-accurate sex ed that is LGBT- inclusive is so important for the physical and mental health of young people, and I’m very much hoping this act passes in the House.

  8. Will, this sounds like a thoughtful and well-balanced piece of legislation. Thank you for supporting it and reporting on it. Please don’t be discouraged by the few virulent and hostile responses you’ve received. This bill is a model of how to preserve parental freedom of choice and involvement while furthering effective public sex education.

    Well done.

  9. Will,
    Your critics don’t suggest what to do about misinformation and ignorance that is thrust onto kids by the silence of adults. So evidently they feel that kids can learn all they need to know about sex from the abundant salacious material on the internet. Lord help us! Thank you for advancing this sane approach to the problem.

  10. Thank you, Will, for supporting an inclusive and evidence-based approach to sexual education. While a small-but-vocal minority will object, I implore you to keep advocating for the health and safety of *all* of our children, especially LGBT+ youth.

    To anyone questioning the value of this kind of legislation, I encourage you to read the American Academy of Pediatrics’ clinical report titled “Sexuality Education for
    Children and Adolescents” (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/2/e20161348).

  11. Hi Senator, thanks for educating us about this initiative. While I think parents who pull their kids out of sex ed are excessively reactionary, I understand the need to strike a balance with those constituents. Thank you for standing up for the science and doing your best to give young people the tools they will need to make healthy decisions. Also, thank you for offering basic education on sexual orientation and gender studies. It’s sad to see so many Massachusetts residents still acting un-American and hateful in these matters, but this is a good step in turning that around for future generations.

  12. I’m pleased by the scope of the required materials, especially the discussion of consent, practice of skills, and inclusion of LGBTQ-relevant information. However, I worry that the fact that sex ed is not required will lead to greater disparities in the state, where some communities decide that if they can’t teach abstinence-only and uninclusive sex ed, they won’t teach it at all, and their levels of teen pregnancy, sexual assault, and STIs will continue to rise.

  13. Thank you Will for advancing this bill. Like many others who grew into adolescence in the early ’70s trial and error were the norm, not age appropriate, structured, healthful, approaches. Parents should influence their children and teens in understanding the material and interpreting it according to their family norms and traditions. But remember it is that material and their kid’s questions that give parents the opportunities to discuss. I think the well-meaning protective parent does a disservice if they opt out of the presentations for that reason.

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