REFERENCE TITLE: sex education curricula; requirements




State of Arizona


Fifty-third Legislature

First Regular Session




SB 1491


Introduced by

Senator Mendez: Representatives Andrade, Blanc, Powers Hannley, Salman





amending sections 15‑102 and 15‑711, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to school curricula.





Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1.  Section 15-102, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE15-102.  Parental involvement in the school; definition

A.  The governing board, in consultation with parents, teachers and administrators, shall develop and adopt a policy to promote the involvement of parents and guardians of children enrolled in the schools within the school district, including:

1.  A plan for parent participation in the schools that is designed to improve parent and teacher cooperation in such areas as homework, attendance and discipline.  The plan shall provide for the administration of a parent‑teacher satisfaction survey.

2.  Procedures by which parents may learn about the course of study for their children and review learning materials, including the source of any supplemental educational materials.

3.  Procedures by which parents who object to any learning material or activity on the basis that it is harmful may withdraw their children from the activity or from the class or program in which the material is used. Objection to a learning material or activity on the basis that it is harmful includes objection to a material or activity because it questions beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.

4.  If a school district offers any sex education curricula pursuant to section 15‑711 or 15‑716 or pursuant to any rules adopted by the state board of education, Procedures to prohibit allow a school district from providing to provide sex education instruction to a pupil unless the pupil's parent provides written permission for the child to not participate in the sex education curricula.

5.  Procedures by which parents will be notified in advance of and given the opportunity to withdraw their children from any instruction or presentations regarding sexuality in courses other than formal sex education curricula.

6.  Procedures by which parents may learn about the nature and purpose of clubs and activities that are part of the school curriculum, extracurricular clubs and activities that have been approved by the school.

7.  Procedures by which parents may learn about parental rights and responsibilities under the laws of this state, including the following:

(a)  The right to opt in to out of a sex education curriculum if one is provided by the school district as provided in section 15‑711.

(b)  Open enrollment rights pursuant to section 15‑816.01.

(c)  The right to opt out of assignments pursuant to this section.

(d)  The right to opt out of immunizations pursuant to section 15‑873.

(e)  The promotion requirements prescribed in section 15‑701.

(f)  The minimum course of study and competency requirements for graduation from high school prescribed in section 15‑701.01.

(g)  The right to opt out of instruction on the acquired immune deficiency syndrome pursuant to section 15‑716.

(h)  The right to review test results pursuant to section 15‑743.

(i)  The right to participate in gifted programs pursuant to section 15‑779.01.

(j)  The right to access instructional materials pursuant to section 15‑730.

(k)  The right to receive a school report card pursuant to section 15‑746.

(l)  The attendance requirements prescribed in sections 15‑802, 15‑803 and 15‑821.

(m)  The right to public review of courses of study and textbooks pursuant to section 15‑721.

(n)  The right to be excused from school attendance for religious purposes pursuant to section 15‑806.

(o)  Policies related to parental involvement pursuant to this section.

(p)  The right to seek membership on school councils pursuant to section 15‑351.

(q)  The right to participate in a parental satisfaction survey pursuant to section 15‑353.

(r)  Information about the student accountability information system as prescribed in section 15‑1041.

(s)  The right to access the failing schools tutoring fund pursuant to section 15-241.

B.  The policy adopted by the governing board pursuant to this section may also include the following components:

1.  A plan by which parents will be made aware of the district's parental involvement policy and this section, including:

(a)  Rights under the family educational rights and privacy act of 1974 (20 United States Code section 1232g) relating to access to children's official records.

(b)  The parent's right to inspect the school district policies and curriculum.

2.  Efforts to encourage the development of parenting skills.

3.  The communication to parents of techniques designed to assist the child's learning experience in the home.

4.  Efforts to encourage access to community and support services for children and families.

5.  The promotion of communication between the school and parents concerning school programs and the academic progress of the parents' children.

6.  Identifying opportunities for parents to participate in and support classroom instruction at the school.

7.  Efforts to support, with appropriate training, parents as shared decision-makers and to encourage membership on school councils.

8.  The recognition of the diversity of parents and the development of guidelines that promote widespread parental participation and involvement in the school at various levels.

9.  The development of preparation programs and specialized courses for certificated employees and administrators that promote parental involvement.

10.  The development of strategies and programmatic structures at schools to encourage and enable parents to participate actively in their children's education.

C.  The governing board may adopt a policy to provide to parents the information required by this section in an electronic form.

D.  A parent shall submit a written request for information pursuant to this section during regular business hours to either the school principal at the school site or the superintendent of the school district at the office of the school district.  Within ten days of after receiving the request for information, the school principal or the superintendent of the school district shall either deliver the requested information to the parent or submit to the parent a written explanation of the reasons for the denial of the requested information.  If the request for information is denied or the parent does not receive the requested information within fifteen days after submitting the request for information, the parent may submit a written request for the information to the school district governing board, which shall formally consider the request at the next scheduled public meeting of the governing board if the request can be properly noticed on the agenda.  If the request cannot be properly noticed on the agenda, the governing board shall formally consider the request at the next subsequent public meeting of the governing board.

E.  For the purposes of this section, "parent" means the natural or adoptive parent or legal guardian of a minor child. END_STATUTE

Sec. 2.  Section 15-711, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE15-711.  Sex education curricula; requirements; rules; definitions

A.  All school districts with existing sex education curricula shall:

1.  Provide sex education in kindergarten programs and grades one through twelve that is medically accurate, developmentally accurate and age‑appropriate.

2.  Include instruction on the laws relating to sexual conduct with a minor for pupils in grades seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve.  Each school district may develop its own course of study to meet the requirements of this section paragraph.

B.  Sex education instruction shall:

1.  Provide students with age-appropriate and medically accurate information about human sexuality as a normal and healthy aspect of human development.

2.  Teach students the benefits of delaying sexual activity and stress the importance of effectively using contraceptives and barrier methods to prevent unintended pregnancy and to protect against sexually transmitted infections, including the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

3.  Help students develop the relationship and communication skills to form healthy relationships throughout their lives that are based on mutual respect and affection and free from violence, coercion and intimidation.

4.  Help students gain knowledge about the physical, social and emotional changes of adolescence and subsequent stages of human maturation, including how pregnancy occurs.

5.  Help students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and stress management in order to make healthy decisions about sexuality and relationships.

6.  Encourage students to communicate with their parents and guardians, health care and social service professionals and other trusted adults about sexuality and intimate relations.

C.  A teacher who provides sex education instruction may answer, in good faith and at the teacher's discretion, any question initiated by a student or students that is reasonably related to and consistent with the material of the course.

D.  The Department of education may eliminate or modify components of sex education in elementary school for reasons of age-appropriateness.

E.  Sex education instruction may not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

F.  School districts shall make sex education curricula available for viewing as provided in section 15‑102.

G.  A student may be excused from any part of the instruction provided in accordance with this section only at the written request of the student's parent or guardian.

H.  A student is not subject to disciplinary action, an academic penalty or another sanction if the student's parent or guardian requests that the student not receive the instruction provided under this section.

I.  The department of education shall do all of the following:

1.  Adopt rules to implement, administer and ensure compliance with this section.

2.  Develop and maintain a current list of sexual health education curricula that are consistent with this section and make this list available to the public.

3.  Designate minimum education and training qualifications for sex education instructors.

4.  Direct each school district to identify any curricula used to provide sex education and report this information every two years to the president of the senate, the minority leader of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and the minority leader of the house of representatives.

J.  The department of education may adopt rules pursuant to title 41, chapter 6 that prescribe procedures to enforce this section, including procedures to initiate a complaint for a violation of this section and to appeal a final determination by the department of education.   

K.  Notwithstanding subsection J of this section, any parent or guardian with a child enrolled in a school district, or any student having legal capacity enrolled in a school district, who believes that the school district is not complying with the requirements of this section may file an action in superior court to enforce this section.

L.  For the purposes of this section:

1.  "Age-appropriate" means topics, messages and teaching methods that are suitable to particular age and developmental levels, based on the cognitive, emotional, social and experience levels of most students at that age level.

2.  "Medically accurate" means information that is supported by peer‑reviewed research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods, that is recognized as accurate and objective by leading medical, psychological, psychiatric and public health organizations and agencies and, if relevant, that is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. END_STATUTE

Sec. 3.  Legislative findings and intent

A.  The legislature finds and declares that:

1.  Students in Arizona often lack the education they need to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

2.  About half of high school students nationwide have had sexual intercourse.

3.  It is estimated that four out of every ten new human immunodeficiency virus infections occur in a youth under the age of thirty, imposing a tremendous economic burden.

4.  Research shows that education programs that emphasize the importance of delaying teen sexual activity and that teach teens proper condom and contraceptive use:

(a)  Delay the initiation of sex.

(b)  Reduce the frequency of sex, the number of partners and the incidence of unprotected sex.

(c)  Increase the use of condoms and contraception.

5.  Long-term impacts in some programs have reduced rates of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, or both.

6.  The most effective sex education is linked to programs ensuring access to health care in general and reproductive health services in particular.  Recent research attributes most of the decline in teenage pregnancy rates to increased use of contraceptives by teens rather than to declines in sexual activity.

7.  Parents and leading health and education organizations support comprehensive sex education.  The American medical association, the American nurses association, the American academy of pediatrics, the American college of obstetricians and gynecologists, the American public health association, the institute of medicine, the society of adolescent medicine, the American federation of teachers, the national education association and the national school boards association support sex education that includes information about both delaying sexual activity and effective contraception use.

8.  Sex education programs that are paired with broader, more comprehensive instruction can help prepare young people to reach intellectual and emotional maturity.  Research shows that programs that discourage risky sexual behavior, encourage teens to postpone sexual activity and prepare teens to use contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including the human immunodeficiency virus, are more successful when they are presented as part of programs designed to give teens the skills and experiences they need to succeed in school and lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

9.  Sex education complements and enhances human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome education programs.  Research shows that sex education programs that incorporate information on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and the human immunodeficiency virus can help reduce sexual risk-taking.

10.  Studies show that discussion between young people and their parents or guardians helps young people make responsible and healthy life decisions.

B.  The legislature intends that sex education should promote healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, sexual orientation, dating, relationships and family and should positively affect adolescent behavior.  Sex education should provide teens with the information, skills and support they need to develop positive values and make healthy decisions and to respect the important role sexuality plays throughout a person's life.

Sec. 4.  Short title

This act may be cited as "The Healthy Youth Act".