Update: On August 20, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 818 (“SB 818”) into law as Public Act 102-0522 and House Bill (“HB 24”) into law as Public Act 102-0412. However, because the bills were signed on the same day, both with immediate effective dates, and P.A. 102-0522 (SB 818) includes a provision that repeals sections of the School Code that were amended by P.A. 102-0412 (HB 24), it had to be determined which Act “controls.” We confirmed that P.A. 102-0522 (SB 818) controls. Accordingly, Section 27-9.1 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/27-9.1) has been repealed and the amendments in P.A. 102-0412 (HB 24) do not go into effect.
For the purposes of sex education instruction, we now must look at the two new sections created by P.A. 102-0522 (SB 818) at 105 ILCS 5/27-9.1a and 27-9.1b addressing “comprehensive personal health and safety education” and “comprehensive sexual health education,” and “consent education.” The existing sex education section of the School Code at 105 ILCS 5/27-9.1 was repealed. Thus, it is no longer in effect, and the amendment to the section that required teaching about sexting never took effect.
Below is a summary of the new requirements for sex education pursuant to P.A. 102-0522 (SB 818). As noted below, ISBE must develop new learning standards by August 1, 2022.
P.A. 102-0522 (SB 818)
P.A. 102-0522 creates two new sections within the Illinois School Code on sex education at 105 ILCS 5/27-9.1a and 27-9.1b addressing “comprehensive personal health and safety education” and “comprehensive sexual health education,” and “consent education.” The new sections set forth the standards for school districts that elect to provide instruction in these areas. As noted above, the existing laws governing sex education were repealed by P.A. 102-0522, specifically Sections 27-9.1 (sex education), 27-9.2 (family life instruction), and 27-11 (instruction on diseases).
“Comprehensive personal health and safety education” and “comprehensive sexual health education” are defined as “age and developmentally appropriate education that aligns with the National Sex Education Standards, including information on consent and healthy relationships, anatomy and physiology, puberty and adolescent sexual development, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and identity, sexual health, and interpersonal violence.” All classes that teach comprehensive personal health and safety and comprehensive sexual health education must satisfy the 15 criteria set forth in the law. If consent education, as defined in the law, is provided by a school district, it is to be age and developmentally appropriate and must meet the requirements outlined for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, and students in 6th through 12th grades.
By August 1, 2022, ISBE must develop and adopt learning standards that align with the new law in the areas of comprehensive personal health and safety education for students in kindergarten through the 5th grade and comprehensive sexual health education for pupils in the 6th through 12th grades. ISBE also is to make resource materials available on its website no later than August 1, 2022.
The learning standards do not need to be adopted by school districts that do not provide comprehensive personal health and safety education and comprehensive sexual health education. In addition, school districts may choose and adapt the curriculum to the specific needs of their community so long as all instruction and materials, including any provided and/or presented by outside individuals or organizations, do not conflict with the law.
Consistent with current law on sex education, parents/guardians may opt their children out of any class or course in comprehensive personal health and safety education and comprehensive sexual health education by submitting a request in writing to the school district. In addition, school districts must annually post, on its website if one exists, which curriculum is used to provide comprehensive personal health and safety and comprehensive sexual health education and the name and contact information, including an email address, of school personnel who can respond to inquiries about instruction and materials. Also, individuals, including parents/guardians, must be provided the opportunity to review the scope and sequence of instructional materials to be used in a class or course, either electronically or in person. School districts should review their board policies and procedures regarding opt out from sex education and requests to review instructional materials. IASB PRESS will be updating its applicable policies and administrative procedures.
Additionally, each school district will be required to report the following information to ISBE: (a) if instruction on comprehensive personal health and safety and comprehensive sexual health education is provided; (b) whether the instruction was provided by a teacher in the school, a consultant, or a community group or organization and if so specify the name; (c) the number of students receiving instruction; (d) the number of students excused from instruction; and (e) the duration of instruction. ISBE must report this information annually to the General Assembly.
For questions about the new requirements for sex education, please contact an attorney in our Students/Special Education practice group.