State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Oregon schools are required to teach sex education.
- Curriculum must be comprehensive but must also promote abstinence.
- Curriculum must recognize different sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expression.
- Curriculum must include instruction on consent.
- Parents or guardians may remove their children from sex education instruction. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
- Oregon law requires sex education to be medically accurate.
Oregon Revised Statutes §§ 336.035, 336.455, and 336.465, as well as Oregon Administrative Rules §§ 581-022-2030 and 581-022-2050, mandate human sexuality education and instruction in infectious diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and sexually transmitted infection prevention, throughout elementary and secondary school. Students in grades 6-8 must receive instruction at least once annually, while students in grades 9-12 must receive instruction twice annually. Oregon does not suggest or recommend a curriculum. However, 336.455 states that:
2) Course Instruction shall:
- Be medically accurate …
- Include information about responsible sexual behaviors and hygienic practices that eliminate or reduce the risks of pregnancy and the risks of exposure to HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other infectious or STI Information about those risks shall be presented in a manner designed to allay fears concerning risks that are scientifically groundless.
- Promote abstinence for school-age youth and mutually monogamous relationships with an uninfected partner for adults as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STDs; however, abstinence may not be taught to the exclusion of other material and instruction on contraceptive and disease reduction measures;
Furthermore, the comprehensive plan of instruction must include information that:
- Provides balanced, accurate information and skills-based learning on the risks and benefits of contraceptive and disease reduction measures that reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy, exposure to HIV, hepatitis B/C, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases; …
- Discusses the benefits of delaying pregnancy beyond the adolescent years as a means to better ensure a healthy future for parents and their children. Students shall be provided with statistics based on the latest medical information regarding both the health benefits and the possible side effects of all forms of contraceptives, including the success and failure rates for prevention of pregnancy, STIs, and diseases; …
- Encourages positive family communication and involvement and helps students learn to make responsible, respectful, and healthy decisions; …
- Validates through course material and instruction the importance of honesty with oneself and others, respect for each person’s dignity and well-being, and responsibility for one’s actions; and
- Uses inclusive materials, language, and strategies that recognize different sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expression.
Sex education courses must also include information on teen dating violence and “must be presented in a manner sensitive to the fact that there are students who have experienced sexual abuse” and must not devalue or ignore students who have engaged in sexual intercourse.
Teachers may not “be subject to discipline or removal for teaching or refusing to teach courses concerning” STDs. Parents or guardians may remove their children from sex education and/or STD/HIV education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
Furthermore, an administrative rule provides specific guidelines that communities must follow when creating their own plan. The plans must be developed locally by community members who are “knowledgeable of the latest scientific information and effective education strategies” approved by local school boards and reviewed biennially in accordance with new scientific information.
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/oregon-state-profile-23/