State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Some sex education is required by proxy via mandated state health education standards in Florida and Florida law does specify certain curriculum requirements if sex education is taught. As Florida schools are not required to explictly provide sex education to students, school districts are left to decide what, if any, type of sex education they provide to youth.
- Florida schools are not required to teach sex education. However, they are required to teach health education that includes instruction on “the consequences of teenage pregnancy” and some aspects of sex education.
- Curriculum is not required to align with the National Sex Education Standards.
- The curriculum must include the benefits of abstinence as the “expected standard.”
- The curriculum must teach prevention of child sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking but is not required to include instruction on consent.
- Florida has no regulation regarding medically accurate sex education instruction.
- Schools in Florida may also choose to provide instruction on HIV/AIDS
- If a school chooses to teach further instruction on HIV/AIDS, instruction must emphasize the benefits of heterosexual marriage and must be age and developmentally appropriate.
- Parents or guardians may submit a written request to remove their children from instruction on reproductive health or any disease. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. policy.
Florida law has more laws prohibiting topics from being taught in sex education than requiring topics to be taught. Florida Statute 48-1003.42 states that public schools must teach “comprehensive health education” that includes prevention of child sexual abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. Public schools must teach students in grades 7 through 12 instruction on teen dating violence and abuse while students in grades 6 through 12 must be instructed on “the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy.” State policy reads that “course descriptions for comprehensive health education shall not interfere with the local determination of appropriate curriculum, which reflects local values and concerns.”
Florida Statute 48-1003.46 states that each district school board may provide instruction in acquired immune deficiency syndrome education as a specific area of health education. Such instruction may include, but is not limited to, the known modes of transmission, signs and symptoms, risk factors associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and means used to control the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Such instruction shall:
- Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age students, while teaching the benefits of monogamous, heterosexual marriage;
- Emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity is a certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, STIs, including AIDS and other associated health problems;
- Teach that each student has the power to control personal behavior and encourage students to base actions on reasoning, self-esteem, and respect for others; and
- Provide instruction and material that is appropriate for the grade and age of the student.
Parents may submit a written request to the school principal to exempt their child from “the teaching of reproductive health or any disease, including HIV/AIDS, its symptoms, development, and treatment.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit https://siecus.org/state_profile/florida-state-profile-23/