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New Mexico

State Information

State Policy Information

State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance

New Mexico schools are required to teach sex education as part of their health education requirement. 

  • Curriculum is required to stress abstinence. 
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. 
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent. 
  • Parents and guardians can request to remove their student from sex education instruction. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
  • New Mexico has no regulation regarding medically accurate sex education curriculum.

State Law

New Mexico Administrative Codes §§, and 22-13-1.1.1 mandate that schools must teach a course in health education in either middle or high school. Each school district must “provide instruction about [human immunodeficiency virus] (HIV) and related issues in the curriculum of the required health education content area to all students in the elementary grades, in the middle/junior high school grades, and in the senior high school grades.” This instruction must include “ways to reduce the risk of getting HIV/[acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] (AIDS), stressing abstinence.” Outcomes of such instruction should include the “ability to demonstrate refusal skills, overcome peer pressure, and use decision-making skills.”

Educational materials and the grade levels at which they are introduced are determined by local school districts. All instruction must be age-appropriate. Local school boards must “ensure the involvement of parents, staff, and students in the development of policies and the review of instructional materials.” The state neither suggests curriculum nor limits what may or may not be included in sex education instruction.

New Mexico Administrative Code requires schools to adopt the academic content and performance standards and to measure the performance in public schools.”

State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit

Health Standards

State Standards

The Health Education Content Standards include “abstinence education” instruction beginning in grades 3 and 4. Beginning in grades 7 and 8, performance standards in health education include understanding “how healthy alternatives can replace unhealthy behaviors (i.e., abstinence, condom use, [and] other pregnancy prevention methods).” Students in grades 9 through 12 are to demonstrate knowledge of pregnancy prevention that includes various methods of contraception, such as hormonal methods and the proper use of condoms. The curriculum also covers strategies for maintaining healthy relationships and resolving harmful behaviors in relationships. The impact of cultural and media portrayals of gender roles is included as a topic of discussion as well.

The standards state that each school district must have a policy allowing parents to “request that their child be exempted from the parts of the health education curriculum that address the sexuality performance standards.” Alternative lessons must be created for exempted students. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy. Local school boards must include parents, staff, and students in developing their own opt-out policy.

State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit