(CNSNews.com) – A new policy that was created in part with the consultation of Planned Parenthood of Illinois will require Chicago Public School students from kindergarteners and up to receive sexual health education instruction beginning in 2015.
According to the Chicago Public Schools website, the new policy passed last week requires “minimum instructional minutes” for students, and instructional material is tailored around age-appropriateness and “medically accurate information.”
“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,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a statement.
“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,” she continued.
According to the Chicago Public Schools website, the new policy was developed by the Chicago Public School Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW). The Chicago Public Schools website said that since June 2012, OSHW has been in consultation with various stakeholder groups for feedback and recommendations in 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.
CPS said that the policy, which replaces the district’s 2008 Family Life and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Policy, “will set more modern standards” for instruction for their students at all grade levels. Younger students will receive family life instruction that was also in the 2008 policy.
“For K-4 students, instruction will center on anatomy and physiology, reproduction, healthy relationships and personal safety,” the website said.
“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,” it added.
“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,” the website read.
At least two teachers from each school will be designated as sexual health education teachers.
CPS said that the policy “conforms to the Mayor’s Healthy Chicago public health agenda” and aligns with and supports priorities in President Obama’s HIV/AIDs strategy.”