Chicago Public Schools, along with some help from Planned Parenthood of Illinois, last week passed a new policy of sexual education set to begin in 2015 that will require the involvement of all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
According to the Chicago Public Schools website, the new policy instructional material is tailored around age-appropriateness and “medically accurate information.”
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement:
[box type=”bio”] “It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships. By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the pre-adolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.[/box]
According to the Chicago Public Schools website, the new policy was developed by the Chicago Public School Office of Student Health and Wellness. The CPS website said that the OSHW had been in consultation with various “stakeholder groups” since June 2012 seeking feedback and advice for developing the policy:
“Among the participants were Mikva Challenge, Chicago Department of Public Health, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, University of Illinois Chicago, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and CPS high school students,” the website said.
The website gave examples of the types of things each age group would be learning:
[box] “For K-4 students, instruction will center on anatomy and physiology, reproduction, healthy relationships and personal safety,” the website said.[/box]
[box] “For example, younger students in this group will focus on the family, feelings and appropriate and inappropriate touching while students in fourth grade will learn about puberty, including the physical, social and emotional changes that accompany it, and the causes and transmission of HIV infection.”[/box]
[box] “For older children in grades 5-12, instruction will include information appropriate for each grade level on human reproduction, transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), healthy decision-making, sexual orientation and bullying, and contraception, including abstinence.”[/box]
The CPS website also confirmed that this policy was created to be in perfect alignment with “the new national standards and supports priorities in both President Obama’s national HIV/AIDS strategy and Mayor Rham Emanuel’s Healthy Chicago initiative.”
As is the case under the current Chicago Public School sex education policy, parents and guardians are able to opt out of having their children participate in the sexual health education instruction.