State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Sex education is not currently mandated in Indiana, although instruction on HIV is required. Instruction on sex education and HIV must stress abstinence and is not required to be medically accurate, evidence-based, or comprehensive. As Indiana schools are not required to provide sex education to students, school districts are left to decide what, if any, type of sex education they provide to youth.
- Indiana schools are not required to teach sex education. However, schools are required to provide instruction on HIV.
- Curriculum must stress abstinence as the expected social standard.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent.
- Schools are required to make two attempts to receive written permission from parents or guardians for students to participate in sex education before automatically enrolling students in the instruction.
- Indiana has no regulation regarding medically accurate sex education instruction.
Indiana Codes 20-30-5-12 and 20-34-3-17 require that schools provide instruction on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and “integrate this effort to the extent possible with instruction on other dangerous communicable diseases.” The law states that the Department of Education must work with the Department of Health to develop AIDS prevention educational materials and make them available to school districts. These materials must “stress the moral aspects of abstinence from sexual activity” and “state that the best way to avoid AIDS is for young people to refrain from sexual activity until they are ready as adults to establish, in the context of marriage, a mutually faithful monogamous relationship.”
Indiana Code 20-30-5-13 requires that, with respect to instruction on sex education and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), accredited schools meet the following criteria:
- Require a teacher to teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children;
- Include in the instruction that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, STDs, and other associated health problems; and
- Include in the instruction that the best way to avoid STDs and other associated health problems is to establish a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage.
In 2018, Indiana enacted Public Law 154, which requires schools to make two attempts to receive written parental permission in order for students to participate in sex education instruction. If permission is not confirmed or is not denied after two attempts, students will be automatically enrolled in the instruction. Parents may subsequently withdraw students from instruction. This includes elements of both an “opt-in” and an “opt-out” policy.
In 2023, Indiana enacted Public Law 248 (formerly known as House Bill 1608), which adds a new chapter to the Indiana Code (IC 20-30-17-2) that prohibits instruction on human sexuality prior to third grade.
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/indiana-state-profile-23/