State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Oklahoma schools are not required to teach sex education. However, they are required to provide HIV/AIDS prevention instruction and health education.
- Curriculum must primarily instruct on abstinence.
- Health education curriculum must include instruction on the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and the services needed to make appropriate health decisions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and responsible decision making.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity but must highlight stigmatizing, false information such as “engaging in homosexual activity, promiscuous sexual activity, intravenous drug use, or contact with contaminated blood products is now known to be primarily responsible for contact with the AIDS virus.”
- Curriculum must include instruction on consent.
- Parents or guardians can submit written notification if they do not want their children to participate in any sexuality and HIV/AIDS courses. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
- Oklahoma has no regulation regarding medically accurate sex education curriculum but does require HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum to be “medically accurate”. However, also requiring factually incorrect information about same-sex relationships blatantly conflicts with this requirement.
Oklahoma does not require schools to teach sex education. However, according to Oklahoma Statutes 70-11-103.3 and 70-11-105.1, schools are required to provide human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention education. This education must be limited to the “discussion of the disease AIDS and its spread and prevention” and include instruction on consent. The class must be taught once during either grade 5 or 6, once during grades 7–9, and once during grades 10–12. All curricula and materials must be checked for medical accuracy by the Oklahoma Department of Health and must only include “factual medical information for AIDS prevention.” However, the Department also requires false, stigmatizing information about LGBTQAI+ relationships, which creates an inherent conflict within AIDS prevention instruction. Further,
A) AIDS prevention education shall specifically teach students that:
- Engaging in homosexual activity, promiscuous sexual activity, intravenous drug use, or contact with contaminated blood products is now known to be primarily responsible for contact with the AIDS virus;
- Avoiding the activities specified [above] is the only method of preventing the spread of the virus;
- Sexual intercourse, with or without condoms, with any person testing positive for HIV antibodies, or any other person infected with HIV, places that individual in a high-risk category for developing AIDS.
B) The program of AIDS prevention education shall teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain means for the prevention of the spread or contraction of the AIDS virus through sexual contact. It shall also teach that artificial means of birth control are not a certain means of preventing the spread of the AIDS virus, and reliance on such methods puts a person at risk for exposure to the disease.
In addition to HIV/AIDS education, schools are required to provide health and physical education. Curriculum must include instruction on the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and the services needed to make appropriate health decisions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and responsible decision making. If a school district chooses to teach sex education beyond the mandated HIV/AIDS and health education, all curricula and materials must be approved for medical accuracy by the state and by the district superintendent. All materials must also be available to parents for review. In addition, all sex education classes must have “the teaching of or informing students about the practice of abstinence” as one of their primary purposes.
A school district must provide written notification of all sex and HIV/AIDS prevention classes. Parents or guardians can submit written notification if they do not want their children to participate in such classes. 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/oklahoma-state-profile-23/