SDE: Sexual Health Education - Section 5

Guidelines for the Sexual Health Education Component
of Comprehensive Health Education

Appendix A: Connecticut General Statutes related to Health Education and Family Life Education

Sec. 10-16b. Prescribed courses of study. (a) In the public schools the program of instruction offered shall include at least the following subject matter, as taught by legally qualified teachers, the arts; career education; consumer education; health and safety, including, but not limited to, human growth and development, nutrition, first aid, disease prevention, community and consumer health, physical, mental and emotional health, including youth suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, safety, which may include the dangers of gang membership, and accident prevention; language arts, including reading, writing, grammar, speaking and spelling; mathematics; physical education; science; social studies, including, but not limited to, citizenship, economics, geography, government and history; and in addition, on at least the secondary level, one or more foreign languages and vocational education. For purposes of this subsection, language arts may include American Sign Language or signed English, provided such subject matter is taught by a qualified instructor under the supervision of a teacher who holds a certificate issued by the State Board of Education.

      (b) If a local or regional board of education requires its pupils to take a course in a foreign language, the parent or guardian of a pupil identified as deaf or hearing impaired may request in writing that such pupil be exempted from such requirement and, if such a request is made, such pupil shall be exempt from such requirement.

      (c) Each local and regional board of education shall on September 1, 1982, and annually thereafter at such time and in such manner as the Commissioner of Education shall request, attest to the State Board of Education that such local or regional board of education offers at least the program of instruction required pursuant to this section, and that such program of instruction is planned, ongoing and systematic.

      (d) The State Board of Education shall make available curriculum materials and such other materials as may assist local and regional boards of education in developing instructional programs pursuant to this section. The State Board of Education, within available appropriations and utilizing available resource materials, shall assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include: (1) Holocaust education and awareness; (2) the historical events surrounding the Great Famine in Ireland; (3) African-American history; (4) Puerto Rican history; (5) Native American history; (6) personal financial management; and (7) topics approved by the state board upon the request of local or regional boards of education as part of the program of instruction offered pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 10-16c. State board to develop family life education curriculum guides. The State Board of Education shall, on or before September 1, 1980, develop curriculum guides to aid local and regional boards of education in developing family life education programs within the public schools. The curriculum guides shall include, but not be limited to, information on developing a curriculum including family planning, human sexuality, parenting, nutrition and the emotional, physical, psychological, hygienic, economic and social aspects of family life, provided the curriculum guides shall not include information pertaining to abortion as an alternative to family planning.

Sec. 10-16d. Family life education programs not mandatory. Nothing in sections 10-16c to 10-16f, inclusive, shall be construed to require any local or regional board of education to develop or institute such family life education programs.

 Sec. 10-16e. Students not required to participate in family life education programs. No student shall be required by any local or regional board of education to participate in any such family life program which may be offered within such public schools. A written notification to the local or regional board by the student's parent or legal guardian shall be sufficient to exempt the student from such program in its entirety or from any portion thereof so specified by the parent or legal guardian.

 Sec. 10-16f. Family life programs to supplement required curriculum. Any such family life program instituted by any local or regional board of education shall be in addition to and not a substitute for any health, education, hygiene or similar curriculum requirements in effect on October 1, 1979.

Sec. 10-19. Teaching about alcohol, nicotine or tobacco, drugs and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Training of personnel. (a) The knowledge, skills and attitudes required to understand and avoid the effects of alcohol, of nicotine or tobacco and of drugs, as defined in subdivision (17) of section 21a-240, on health, character, citizenship and personality development shall be taught every academic year to pupils in all grades in the public schools; and, in teaching such subjects, textbooks and such other materials as are necessary shall be used. Annually, at such time and in such manner as the Commissioner of Education shall request, each local and regional board of education shall attest to the State Board of Education that all pupils enrolled in its schools have been taught such subjects pursuant to this subsection and in accordance with a planned, ongoing and systematic program of instruction. The content and scheduling of instruction shall be within the discretion of the local or regional board of education. Institutions of higher education approved by the State Board of Education to train teachers shall give instruction on the subjects prescribed in this section and concerning the best methods of teaching the same. The State Board of Education and the Board of Governors of Higher Education in consultation with the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Commissioner of Public Health shall develop health education or other programs for elementary and secondary schools and for the training of teachers, administrators and guidance personnel with reference to understanding and avoiding the effects of nicotine or tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

      (b) Commencing July 1, 1989, each local and regional board of education shall offer during the regular school day planned, ongoing and systematic instruction on acquired immune deficiency syndrome, as taught by legally qualified teachers. The content and scheduling of the instruction shall be within the discretion of the local or regional board of education. Not later than July 1, 1989, each local and regional board of education shall adopt a policy, as the board deems appropriate, concerning the exemption of pupils from such instruction upon written request of the parent or guardian. The State Board of Education shall make materials available to assist local and regional boards of education in developing instruction pursuant to this subsection.

Appendix B: Developmentally Appropriate Approach to Sexual Health Education Example

Below is one example of developmental appropriateness for implementation of sexual health education. The example demonstrates how the specific performance indicators connect to the Healthy and Balanced Living Curriculum Framework (CSDE, 2006, p. 13) stages of development from early childhood through adolescence. These examples focus on the role of family influence during a child’s development:

Stage of development: Infancy and Early childhood
Performance Indicator:  By kindergarten, students will identify how families can influence personal health (Prekindergarten 1.4)

Family interactions influence a child’s development of trust, self-esteem and health behaviors.  As children become more verbal, they ask questions about all kinds of things including bodies and reproduction.  They also mimic adult behaviors when they play.  Parental response to children’s curiosity and mimicry sets the stage for later attitudes and values (Chrisman & Couchenour, 2002).

Stage of development: Middle childhood/School age
Performance Indicator:  By grade 4, students will explore how families can influence personal health (Elementary 1.4) (CSDE, 2006).

As children seek to cement their self-concept as male or female, they often show a strong preference for gender-typed clothing and activities (such as, boys wearing action-figure clothing and girls playing with dolls).  Family members strongly influence children’s attitudes and beliefs and children tend to reflect the sexuality messages and images to which they’ve been exposed (Chrisman & Couchenour, 2002).

Stage of development: Pre- and Early Adolescence
Performance Indicator:  By grade 8, students will examine how families and peers can influence the health of adolescents (Middle 1.4) (CSDE, 2006).

This is a time of tremendous growth and change.  Early adolescents are developing a greater sense of independence, autonomy, and personal identity. Young teens are increasingly influenced by peers although parents remain a strong influence on their decisions about sexuality and health (Pierno, 2007).

Stage of development: Middle Adolescence
Performance Indicator:  By grade 12, students will evaluate how families, peers and community members can influence the health of individuals (High 1.4) (CSDE, 2006).

As young people move from being concrete to abstract thinkers they become increasingly able to analyze situations logically and to consider cause and effect. As their ability to think and reason increases, teens often become concerned about community and social issues (Pierno, 2007).

Appendix C: Building Community Support

According to Greenberg, as cited in ASHA (2003), “building bridges rather than barricades is something that requires patience, openness, and a respect for the genuine concerns that many people have for the health and futures of young people…one of the key elements to the successful implementation of a sexuality education program is an informed and involved community including students and their families, religious leaders, and voluntary and community groups” (Greenberg p. 34). Sowers as cited in Greenberg, offers the following suggestions for dealing with resistance to comprehensive health education.

Before the fact:

  1. do your homework. Know the facts about your local community and state
    (statistics and resources);
  2. assure broad-based planning at the local level. Building a planning group that is reflective of the diversity in the community;
  3. state goals clearly. Reach consensus through a goal-setting process;
  4. seek support of local health professionals, teachers, school administrators,
    counselors, social workers, youth group leaders, voluntary agency personnel, clergy and parents - the people who know kids and the consequences of ignorance, misinformation, or lack of support or supervision;
  5. select articulate spokespersons who enjoy wide respect in the community, wholisten as well as speak and who understand that comprehensive health education is broader than any one issue or topic;
  6. make the community aware of the need and the progress the planning group is making toward developing a program that is reflective of the community’s values and commitments to youth; and
  7. be positive. Don’t expect opposition and thereby telegraph anxieties.

If controversy surfaces:

  1. know your goals and be able to communicate them positively and effectively;
  2. listen and find common ground where you can;
  3. don’t get defensive; keep your supporters informed and involved;
  4. step up your information campaign;
  5. be honest and above board;
  6. respect differences;
  7. remain positive (Sowers, 1994); and
  8. reference research –based data.






Content Last Modified on 4/6/2017 2:19:43 PM