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PRINTER'S NO. 2006
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
1338
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY TEPLITZ, SCHWANK, HAYWOOD AND HUGHES,
JUNE 29, 2016
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, JUNE 29, 2016
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in terms and courses of study,
providing for sexual health education.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) Discussions between youth and their parents or
guardians are the most important ways to help youth make
responsible and healthy life decisions.
(2) However, Pennsylvania's schools and other community
groups also have a responsibility to help ensure that the
youth have the knowledge and skills necessary to enable them
to make responsible life decisions, to protect their health,
to prevent unintended pregnancy and to reduce the risk of
sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
(3) Research has identified highly effective sex
education and HIV prevention programs that affect multiple
behaviors and achieve positive health impacts. Behavioral
outcomes have included delaying the initiation of sex, as
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well as reducing the frequency of sex, the number of
partners, and the incidence of unprotected sex, and
increasing the use of condoms and contraception among
sexually active participants. Long-term impacts have included
lower STI and pregnancy rates.
(4) Lowering STI and pregnancy rates may reduce costs
for Pennsylvania's health care delivery system. According to
the most recent statistics, in 2010, teen pregnancy cost
taxpayers $409 million.
(5) Despite significant State and national declines in
teen pregnancy since 1991, teen birth ratios are still
elevated in several high population urban areas of this
Commonwealth. The rates continue to be highest among minority
youth.
(6) Rates of the two most common STIs (Chlamydia and
HPV) are higher in females 15 to 19 years of age than any
other age group. One in four adolescent girls will contract
an STI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), nearly half of newly diagnosed STIs each
year are among sexually active youth, 15 to 24 years of age.
African-American youth are over four times more likely to
have reported cases of STIs than Hispanics and Caucasians.
The lifetime medical cost associated with STIs in young
people is estimated to be more than $6.5 billion.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a
section to read:
Section 1512.2. Sexual Health Education.--(a) A school
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district required to comply with 22 Pa. Code ยง 4.29 (relating to
HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening and communicable diseases)
shall provide students with sexual health education that meets
the following criteria:
(1) Instruction and materials shall be age appropriate.
(2) All information presented shall be medically accurate.
(3) Teachings shall include the following information:
(i) The benefits of and reasons for not engaging in sexual
intercourse.
(ii) Not engaging in sexual intercourse is the only certain
way to prevent pregnancy and to reduce the risk of sexually
transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
(iii) How alcohol and drug use can affect responsible
decision making.
(iv) Self-control, temperance, restraint, self-discipline,
discretion, discernment, sagacity and respect for others as
those characteristics relate to relationships.
(4) Provides students with accurate information that
includes the following:
(i) Side effects, health benefits, effectiveness, safety and
proper use of all contraceptive methods approved by the Food and
Drug Administration in preventing pregnancy.
(ii) STI information, including how STIs are and are not
transmitted and the effectiveness of all methods of reducing the
risk of contracting STIs approved by the Food and Drug
Administration.
(5) Addresses healthy relationships and social pressures
related to sexual behaviors that include the following:
(i) An affirmative consent standard shall be established to
emphasize healthy sexual behaviors. The standard shall include
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the following information:
(A) It is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that
affirmative consent has been established before proceeding with
any sexual activity.
(B) The absence of protest or resistance does not comply
with affirmative consent.
(C) Past sexual relations and/or existing relationships are
not indicative of affirmative consent.
(ii) Sexual health education shall emphasize the dangers and
risks of the social pressures of sexting. The emphasis shall
include the following information:
(A) Images are easily shared and can be made publicly
available online.
(B) Once distributed online, images can be difficult to
remove.
(C) Consequences of sexting in some cases include charges of
criminal activity such as child pornography and disseminating of
indecent material to minors.
(6) Discusses sexual activity as it relates to risk for STIs
and pregnancy.
(7) Encourages youth to communicate with parents, guardians
and other trusted adults about sexuality.
(8) Instructors are permitted to answer in good faith any
questions initiated by a student or students that are germane to
the material of the course.
(9) Instructions and materials shall be appropriate for use
with, and shall not promote bias against, pupils of all races,
genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds,
gender identities, sexually active pupils and pupils with
disabilities.
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(b) (1) A student shall be excused from all or any part of
the sexual health education required by this section if the
student's parent or guardian provides a written request to the
school.
(2) Information about the school district's sexual health
instruction, including curriculum, information being provided to
students and a list of written and audio-visual materials used
for the education, shall be made publicly available to parents
and guardians through the school district's publicly accessible
Internet website, if available, the school district's student
manual or any other means of communication currently used by the
school district. A form for excusing a student from all or any
part of the sexual health education shall also be made available
to parents and guardians in the same manner.
(3) A student whose parent or guardian submits a written
request for the student to be excused from all or any part of
the sexual health education shall not be subject to disciplinary
action or academic penalty for exercising the right to be
excused from the education.
(c) The Department of Education, in consultation with the
Department of Health, shall develop and maintain a list of
sexual health education curricula that are consistent with the
requirements of this section. The list should be updated at
least annually and made available on the Department of
Education's publicly accessible Internet website. The Department
of Education shall promulgate rules reasonably necessary to
implement, administer and provide oversight for the provisions
of this section.
(d) No funds appropriated by the Commonwealth for sex
education shall contravene the provisions of this section.
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(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to
parochial or private schools.
(f) In fulfilling the education requirements enumerated in
subsection (a):
(1) local school districts shall approve and select
curricula, textbooks and instructional materials that are
appropriate for the students of the district covered by this
section;
(2) the curricula selected shall be consistent with the
criteria in subsection (a); and
(3) any sex education curriculum resources adopted by the
Commonwealth shall be construed as a guide for local school
districts as they develop their educational program in
accordance with this section.
(g) As used in this section, the following words and phrases
shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
(1) "Affirmative consent" in relation to sexual activities
by both parties of legal age, shall mean affirmation,
willingness and conscious agreement to sexual activity.
(2) "Age appropriate" shall mean topics, messages and
teaching methods suitable to particular ages or groups of
children and adolescents, based on developing cognitive,
emotional and behavioral capacity typical for the age or age
group.
(3) "Medically accurate" shall mean information supported by
peer-reviewed research conducted in compliance with accepted
scientific methods and recognized as accurate by leading
professional organizations and agencies with relevant
experience, including the American Medical Association and the
Department of Health.
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(4) "Sexting" shall mean the procurement or distribution of
sexually explicit photographs or messages via electronic means
such as a cell phone.
Section 2. The addition of section 1512.2 of the act shall
apply to school years beginning after the effective date of this
section.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 90 days.
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