Bill Number: HB 78
Bill Description: Relating to human sexuality education in public schools
Author: González, Mary (D-Clint)
Stance: Support
Related Bills: None
Committee: N/A

TLO Website

Analysis

This bill proposes to amend the laws governing how sex education is taught in Texas, completely rewriting the law to move away from an abstinence-until-marriage focus to an abstinence-plus focus, while retaining some of the more charitable language of the 1995 law. The bill specifically:

  • Requires school districts to provide sex education, leaves grade levels up to SBOE
  • Requires that sex education must be "age appropriate", which the bill defines as "topics, messages, and teaching methods suitable to particular ages or age groups of children or adolescents, based on developing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacity typical for the age or age group."
  • Requires that sex education must cover "human sexuality, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections"
  • Requires that human sexuality must be discussed as a "normal and healthy aspect of human development"
  • Retains abstinence as the "preferred choice of behavior" for students, and requires "sufficient" attention be paid to it.
  • Retains "unmarried" language
  • Requires the teaching about contraception as a means to prevent unintended pregnancy and STIs
  • Requires the promoting of"relationship, communication, and decision-making skills"
  • Requires instruction aimed at developing life skills such as critical thinking and decision making
  • Requires the promotion of “effective communication between adolescents and their parents ... about sexuality and relationships.
  • Allows segregation by sex of students
  • Requires curriculum and resources used for teaching to be available for "public inspection"
  • Leaves the decision about making condoms available to students up to the school district
  • Allows excused absence from sex education with written permission from parent
  • Requires districts to provide written notice to parents of students who will undergo sex education at the beginning of the academic year, with a description of the course and information on how to excuse a student.

Position

Secular Texas strongly supports this bill as an encouraging approach to re-imagining the teaching of sex education in Texas, a task at which our state has largely failed our youth. Sex Education Reform is the main focus of Secular Texas during the 84th Legislative Session. Please take a look at our articles and research on Sex Education in Texas.

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