SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — A new study has found that the majority of school districts in Illinois have opted out of adopting controversial new sexual education curricula.
Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act in 2021 that updated sex education standards in schools across the state, in line with the National Sex Education Standards.
According to The Center Square, the curricula added to grades K-12 include defining gender expression, different kinds of families, and sexual abuse.
The standards add anatomy, gender identity, and sexual orientation curricula to grades 3-5.
Grades 6-8 learn about different types of sex, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and sexual consent.
Grades 9-10 learn about the history of “reproductive justice,” and grades 11-12 learn about power and privilege within sexual relationships.
“Modernizing our sex education standards will help keep our children safe and ensure important lessons like consent and internet safety are taught in classrooms,” said Pritzker at the time of the law’s signing. “By working together, we’ll continue to strengthen our education system and deliver the bright future our kids deserve.”
However, parents were given the option to opt out of the revised sexual education classes.
The advocacy group Awake Illinois studied public records, obtained from the State Board of Education, and discovered that 552 out of 758 school districts had opted out of the program after surveying parents.
In the Chicago Public Schools, zero students were opted out for the 2022-2023 school year, the report found.
Parents are still free to remove their children from the classes even if the school district does opt-in, the report says.
The new comprehensive sexual health and education standards include:
- Identify different kinds of families (e.g. nuclear, single parent, blended intergenerational, cohabitating, adoptive, foster, same-gender, interracial).
- Define gender, gender identity and gender-role stereotypes.
- List medically-accurate names for body parts, including the genitals.
- Explain common human sexual development and the role of hormones (e.g. romantic and sexual feelings, masturbation, mood swings, timing of pubertal onset).
- Describe the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.
- Define and explain differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive and gender identity. Explain that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum.
- Differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Define vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
- Define sexual identity and explain a range of identities related to sexual orientation (e.g. heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, two spirit, asexual, pansexual).
- List at least four methods of contraception that are available without a prescription (e.g. abstinence, condoms, emergency contraception, withdrawal).
- Differentiate between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and gender expression.
- Identify factors that impact the risk of unintended pregnancy and potential transmission of STD’s, including HIV, from a variety of sexual behaviors, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
- Define reproductive justice and explain its history and how it relates to sexual health.