Starting next school year, schools in Illinois will teach sexual education lessons to students as young as kindergarteners.
On Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 818, which his office said will modernize sex education standards with age-appropriate content for grades K-12.
The legislation requires the Illinois State Board of Education to provide the standards for schools that teach sex education by August 2022, Just the News reports. Schools that don’t teach sex education do not need to adopt the standards, and parents will have the choice of opting their children out.
Indeed, the curriculum will mirror and be updated with the National Sex Education Standards.
Standards for grades kindergarten through second grade include defining gender expression, different kinds of families and types of sexual abuse. Grades 3 to 5 go into anatomy, gender identity and sexual orientation, while grades 6 to 8 will learn about sex, sexual exploitation and trafficking. Grades 9 to 10 will learn about the history of “reproductive justice,” and grades 11 to 12 will learn about power and privilege within sexual relationships.
Prior to the passing of the legislation last May, Rep. Avery Bourne said it was a mistake to align the curriculum with non-governmental groups.
“We are delegating all authority to an unaccountable national group that can change these standards at any given moment with no check at the state level or the school level,” Bourne said.
On the other hand, Planned Parenthood of Illinois celebrated the legislation.
“Illinois schools will now be equipped to take an active role in preventing bullying, harassment, abuse, sexual violence, and interpersonal violence, which helps ensure all Illinois students can thrive,” Planned Parenthood Illinois Action President and CEO Jennifer Welch said. “And students will learn about healthy relationships and the experiences and needs of all students, including the LGBTQ+ community and those with disabilities, which promotes acceptance and understanding.”