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Sen. Jason Lewis, Senate pass the Healthy Youth Act

Sen. Jason Lewis and colleagues in the Senate have passed the Healthy Youth Act. The bill is now headed to the House. COURTESY PHOTO/SEN. JASON LEWIS

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The following was submitted by Sen. Jason Lewis's office:

Sen. Jason Lewis joined colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to pass the Healthy Youth Act, which would ensure that Massachusetts public schools electing to teach sexual health education curriculum use age-appropriate, inclusive, medically accurate, and research-based information on sex, relationships, and consent.

The Healthy Youth Act would enhance parental rights and codify into law the voluntary health curriculum framework approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) last year. It calls for sex and relationship education to be inclusive and appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

“Providing comprehensive, age-appropriate, and medically accurate sex and relationship education to our youth is the best way to prepare them to make safe and healthy choices,” said Lewis, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I’m pleased that the Senate is continuing to advance this legislation that ensures that Massachusetts public schools use research-informed curricula that prioritize inclusivity and the health and well-being of all students.”

Ensuring that Massachusetts public schools use a research-informed curriculum that provides medically accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive sexual health information would protect young people from inaccurate or misleading information. It will also help young people to develop healthy relationships, both with friends and romantic partners, emphasizing that relationships should always be free of coercion, intimidation, abuse, and violence.

The Healthy Youth Act would ensure that sex ed curricula are inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities. This is especially important given the right-wing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community here in Massachusetts and around the country.

Lastly, the Healthy Youth Act would require DESE to collect data on sex and relationship education taught in public schools, and also ensure that going forward the health curriculum framework is updated no less frequently than every 10 years.

The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.

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