2019 Regular Session
By: Representatives Anderson, Sykes
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-171, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE CERTAIN PROVISIONS RELATING TO SEX EDUCATION INSTRUCTION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO COLLECTIVELY DEVELOP A LIST OF APPROVED CURRICULA EVERY FIVE YEARS WHICH IS EVIDENCE-BASED, MEDICALLY ACCURATE AND APPROPRIATE FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS BEGINNING JULY 1, 2019, WHICH MAY BE USED BY LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ADOPTING POLICIES ON ABSTINENCE-ONLY AND ABSTINENCE-PLUS EDUCATION; TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-173, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE PARENTS WITH OPT OUT AUTHORITY TO EXCLUDE THEIR CHILD FROM ANY INSTRUCTION OR PRESENTATION ON ANY SEX-RELATED EDUCATIONAL CONTENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-13-171, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-171. (1) The local school board of every public school district shall adopt a policy to implement abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education into its curriculum by June 30, 2012, which instruction in those subjects shall be implemented not later than the start of the 2012-2013 school year or the local school board shall adopt the program which has been developed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Health. Beginning July 1, 2019, the State Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Health, shall collectively develop a list of approved curricula which is evidence-based, medically accurate, age, grade and developmentally appropriate for middle and high school students. The State Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Health shall review the curricula every five (5) years to determine whether the curricula are evidence-based and medically accurate, age, grade and developmentally appropriate as to the time of its offering for instruction or presentation in public schools. The Mississippi Department of Health shall renew the implementation of sex education in the public schools of this state every four (4) years. The State Department of Education shall approve each district's curriculum for sex-related education and shall establish a protocol to be used by districts to provide continuity in teaching the approved curriculum in a manner that is evidence-based, medically accurate, age, grade and developmentally appropriate.
(2) Abstinence-only education shall remain the state standard for any sex-related education taught in the public schools. For purposes of this section, abstinence-only education includes any type of instruction or program which, at an appropriate age and grade:
(a) Teaches the social, psychological and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity, and the likely negative psychological and physical effects of not abstaining;
(b) Teaches the harmful consequences to the child, the child's parents and society that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to produce, including the health, educational, financial and other difficulties the child and his or her parents are likely to face, as well as the inappropriateness of the social and economic burden placed on others;
(c) Teaches that unwanted sexual advances are irresponsible and teaches how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances;
(d) Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage, and fidelity within marriage, is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and related health problems. The instruction or program may include a discussion on condoms or contraceptives, but only if that discussion includes a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates of those contraceptives. In no case shall the instruction or program include any demonstration of how condoms or other contraceptives are applied;
(e) Teaches the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, paternity establishment, child support and homosexual activity; and
(f) Teaches that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse.
(3) A program or instruction on sex-related education need not include every component listed in subsection (2) of this section for abstinence-only education. However, no program or instruction under an abstinence-only curriculum may include anything that contradicts the excluded components. For purposes of this section, abstinence-plus education includes every component listed under subsection (2) of this section that is age and grade appropriate, in addition to any other programmatic or instructional component approved by the department, which shall not include instruction and demonstrations on the application and use of condoms. Abstinence-plus education may discuss other contraceptives, the nature, causes and effects of sexually transmitted diseases, or the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, along with a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates.
(4) (a) Any course containing sex-related education offered in the public schools shall include instruction in either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education. The chosen sex-related education curriculum adopted and implemented by the local school board shall be offered to students enrolled in its public schools twice:
(i) Once during elementary or middle school, at such time as the board determines the students are capable of comprehending evidence-based, medically accurate, age, grade and developmentally appropriate course content; and
(ii) Once during high school.
(b) Licensed instructor and school nurses who provide instruction of sex education content shall be required to participate in a content specific professional development or continuing education course every two (2) years, so long as they remain employed with the school district in an instructional capacity.
(5) Local school districts, in their discretion, may host programs designed to teach parents how to discuss abstinence with their children.
(6) There shall be no effort in either an abstinence-only or an abstinence-plus curriculum to teach that abortion can be used to prevent the birth of a baby.
(7) At all times when sex-related education is discussed or taught, boys and girls shall be separated according to gender into different classrooms, sex-related education instruction may not be conducted when boys and girls are in the company of any students of the opposite gender.
(8) This section shall
stand repealed on July 1, * * *
SECTION 2. Section 37-13-173, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-173. Each school
providing instruction or any other presentation on human sexuality in the
classroom, assembly or other official setting shall be required to provide no
less than one (1) week's written notice thereof to the parents of children in
such programs of instruction. The written notice must inform the parents of
their right to request the * * *
exclusion of their child for
such instruction or presentation. The notice also must inform the parents of
the right, and the appropriate process, to review the curriculum and all
materials to be used in the lesson or presentation. Upon the request of any
parent for exclusion, the school shall excuse the parent's child from
such instruction or presentation, without detriment to the student.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2019.