State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Rhode Island schools are required to teach sex education through their “comprehensive school health education program”. Curriculum must align with Rhode Islands’ Comprehensive Health Instructional Outcomes, and the Health Literacy for All: The Rhode Island Health Education Framework.
- Curriculum is not required to align with the National Sex Education Standards.
- Curriculum must stress abstinence.
- Curriculum is required, according to health standards, to include instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Curriculum must include instruction on consent by law.
- Curriculum must include discussion of varying types of dating violence by law.
- The administrative head of school(s) is required to designate a certified health educator to administer the health education program.
- Parents must be notified of sex education classes and may view the curriculum by submitting a written request. Students may be removed from instruction by written notification from the parent to the principal. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
Rhode Island schools are required by Rhode Island General Laws §§ 16-1-5, 16-22-17 and 16-22-18 to provide instruction including “HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome): the causes, effects, treatment, and prevention”. Schools must also teach health education in grades 1-12. Further they are required to teach “the responsibilities of family membership and adulthood, including issues related to reproduction, abstinence, dating and dating violence, marriage, and parenthood, as well as information about sexually transmitted diseases [STDs], sexuality, and sexual orientation.”
Parents must be notified of sex education classes and may view the curriculum by submitting a written request. Students may be removed from instruction by written notification from the parent to the principal. 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/rhode-island-state-profile-23/