Massachusetts

Massachusetts Lawmakers Consider Sex Education Reform

It’s been decades since any significant reform has been made to the sex ed being taught in Massachusetts public schools and advocates say it is antiquated and even dangerous

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A coalition of sex education reform advocates gathered at the State House to promote a bill they say would update and enrich the current curriculum guidelines. 

Jaclyn Friedman, cochair of the Healthy Youth Act Coalition said they are “Based in fact, in science, teaches things like consent. Is affirming to all our LGBTQ students.”

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It’s been decades since any significant reform has been made to the sex ed being taught in Massachusetts public schools and advocates say it is antiquated and even dangerous.

"We can’t teach abstinence only, because that is not the way the world works today," bill co-sponsor Sen. Sal DiDomenico, D-Everett, said.

He challenged naysayers to be honest about where many kids get their sex education if not in the schools adding, “they’re getting it from their friends on the street. Let’s not put our heads in the sand and say they’re not talking about this. They are talking about it. They’re getting bad information.”

Or, Megara Bell of Partners in sex education said, young people often turn to the Internet.  

“Too many of our students are getting outdated, shaming and destructive sexual health education, full of misinformation, sexist and dangerous stereotypes,” she said.

Advocates left the rally to enter the State House and lobby their lawmakers. Many made the point that the curriculum is not mandated and that parents can choose to opt out. 

Opponents of the bill say sex education is best taught by parents and that some of what is being introduced to students is not appropriate for young children. 

“We’re not going to be giving that kind of instruction to students in the second and third grade," Rep Jim O’Day, D-Worcester, said.

Over the past eight years, the healthy youth act has passed three times in the Senate. Advocates hope it can finally pass in the house before the session ends on July 31. 

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