State law requires teaching comprehensive sex education, medically-accurate sex education, or otherwise addresses all elements of comprehensive sex education as defined by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
Health and Sexuality Educaation Standard in Oregon
The new Standard expand on the required knowledge and skills related to comprehensive sexuality education. They expand the notion of what sexual health is, treating sexuality as “a multidimensional process, intimately linked to the basic human needs of being liked and accepted, displaying and receiving affection, feeling valued and attractive, and sharing thoughts and feelings.”1 Thus, the Standard cover broad areas including body image, media literacy, gender roles, relationships, and communication.
Oregon Administrative Rules 581-022-2050 Human Sexuality Education
(2) Each school district shall provide an age-appropriate, comprehensive plan of instruction focusing on human sexuality education, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections and disease prevention in elementary and secondary schools as an integral part of health education and other subjects. Course material and instruction for all human sexuality education courses that discuss human sexuality in public elementary and secondary schools shall enhance students' understanding of sexuality as a normal and healthy aspect of human development. As part of the comprehensive plan of human sexuality instruction, each school district board shall adopt a child sexual abuse prevention instructional program for students in kindergarten through grade 12 as defined in subsection (9). In addition, the HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections and disease prevention education and the human sexuality education comprehensive plan shall provide adequate instruction at least annually, for all students' grades 6-8 and at least twice during grades 9-12.
(8) All human sexuality education programs shall emphasize that abstinence from sexual intercourse, when practiced consistently and correctly, is the only method that is 100 percent effective against unintended pregnancy, HIV infection (when transmitted sexually), hepatitis B/C infection, and other sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Abstinence is to be stressed, but not to the exclusion of contraceptives and condoms for preventing unintended pregnancy, HIV infection, sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and hepatitis B/C. Such courses are to acknowledge the value of abstinence while not devaluing, ignoring or stigmatizing those students who have had or are having sexual relationships. Further, sexuality education materials, instructional strategies, and activities must not, in any way, use shame or fear based tactics.
Oregon Revised Statutes 336.035 Required courses of study
(2) Any district school board may establish a course of education concerning sexually transmitted infections including recognition of causes, sources and symptoms, and the availability of diagnostic and treatment centers. Any such course established may be taught to adults from the community served by the individual schools as well as to students enrolled in the school. The board shall cause the parents or guardians of minor students to be notified in advance that the course is to be taught. Any such parent or guardian may direct in writing that the minor child in the care of the parent or guardian be excused from any class within the course. Any parent or guardian may inspect the instructional materials to be used before or during the time the course is taught.
Oregon Revised Statutes 336.455 Human sexuality education courses
(1) Each school district shall provide age-appropriate human sexuality education courses in all public elementary and secondary schools as an integral part of the health education curriculum. (2) Course material and instruction for all human sexuality education courses shall enhance students' understanding of sexuality as a normal and healthy aspect of human development. Course instruction shall:
- (a) Be medically accurate.
- (b) Be comprehensive.
- (c) Include information about responsible sexual behaviors and hygienic practices that eliminate or reduce the risks of pregnancy and the risks of exposure to human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections. Information about those risks shall be presented in a manner designed to allay fears concerning risks that are scientifically groundless.
- (d) Promote abstinence for school-age youth and mutually monogamous relationships with an uninfected partner for adults as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. However, abstinence may not be taught to the exclusion of other material and instruction on contraceptive and infection reduction measures. Human sexuality education courses shall acknowledge the value of abstinence while not devaluing or ignoring those students who have had or are having sexual intercourse.
- (e) Include a discussion about the characteristics of the emotional, physical and psychological aspects of a healthy relationship and a discussion about the benefits of delaying pregnancy beyond the adolescent years as a means to better ensure a healthy future for parents and their children. Students shall be provided with statistics based on the latest medical information regarding both the health benefits and the possible side effects of all forms of contraceptives, including the success and failure rates for prevention of pregnancy.
- (g) Provide students with information about Oregon laws that address young people's rights and responsibilities related to childbearing and parenting.
- (h) Advise students of the circumstances in which it is unlawful under ORS 163.435 and 163.445 for persons 18 years of age or older to have sexual relations with persons younger than 18 years of age to whom they are not married.
- (i) Teach students that no form of sexual expression is acceptable when the expression physically or emotionally harms oneself or others and teach students not to make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances, how to decline unwanted sexual advances or accept the refusal of unwanted sexual advances. Students shall be taught that it is wrong to take advantage of or to exploit another person. Materials and information shall be presented in a manner sensitive to the fact that there are students who have experienced sexual abuse.
- (j) Validate through course material and instruction the importance of honesty with oneself and others, respect for each person's dignity and well-being, and responsibility for one's actions.
- (k) Assist students in the development and practice of effective communication skills, the development of self-esteem and the ability to resist peer pressure.
- (l) Encourage family communication and involvement to help students learn to make responsible decisions. (3) Any course in any public elementary and secondary school, the main purpose of which is to address human sexuality education or sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus, or both, must emphasize that abstinence from sexual contact is the only method that is 100 percent effective against unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus when transmitted sexually. Abstinence must be stressed, but not to the exclusion of other material and instruction on contraceptive and infection reduction measures. Courses described in this subsection must acknowledge the value of abstinence while not devaluing or ignoring those students who have had or are having sexual intercourse.