Texas Health and Sexuality Education
Laws and Standards
Texas law requires public schools to teach health education, including a parenting and paternity awareness (PAPA) program. Local school districts develop their health education program in partnership with local school health advisory councils, which help ensure that community values are reflected in the instruction. Districts cannot change health education policies—or choose to teach sexuality and HIV/AIDS education—without considering the local council’s input. As guidance, the Texas Education Association provides state curriculum frameworks and program standards.
School Health Advisory Council
Each board of trustees must establish a local school health advisory council to “assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district’s health education instruction.” The school district must consider the council’s input before changing its health education curriculum or instruction, and must follow content requirements or standards detailed in the state law.
Human Sexuality: Pregnancy and Disease Prevention
Instruction in these topics may be adopted by a local board of trustees with input from the school health advisory council. If a district teaches sexuality education, it must:
- present sexual abstinence as the preferred behavior for unmarried students
- focus more on abstinence than any other behavior
- emphasize that consistent abstinence before marriage is the only method that is 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, STDs, HIV/AIDS, and “the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity”
Parental Notification and Opt-out Policies
Districts choosing to teach human sexuality must provide instructional materials for public review. Parents/guardians must be notified of material content and their right to deny such instruction as a part of their child’s education.Adapted from Texas Education Code, Sec. 28.004, Local School Health Advisory Council and Health Education Instruction http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.28.htm
Information above was compiled from Abstinence Education and the Texas Education Agency.