State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Virginia schools are not required to teach sex education (also known as family life education). However, if they choose to teach sex education they may follow the Family Life Education Guidelines and Standards of Learning developed by the Virginia Board of Education.
- This curriculum is not required to align with the National Sex Education Standards and must emphasize abstinence.
- Certain topics of the Family Life Education Guidelines and Standards of Learning must be taught, if family life education is provided, such as dating violence, violence prevention, consent, and personal boundaries.
- The curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Parents or guardians may remove their students from any class. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
Virginia mandates health education, but sex education is not required. However, Virginia Code Annotated §§ 22.1-200, 22.1-207.1 and 22.1-207.2 state that all family life education programs that are offered must meet or exceed the “requirements of the [State] Board of Education.” Virginia gives permission for local school boards to develop family life education programs with the “goals of reducing the incidence of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and substance abuse among teenagers.”
According to Virginia Code Annotated § 22.1-207.1:1, “any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division shall require the Standards of Learning objectives related to dating violence and the characteristics of abusive relationships to be taught at least once in middle school and at least twice in high school.” The curriculum shall incorporate age-appropriate and evidence-based elements on prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, including sexual harassment using electronic means, and sexual violence. Additionally, family life education curriculum may incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on child sexual abuse, child abduction, human trafficking, the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, the importance of personal privacy and personal boundaries, and the law and meaning of consent.
The law states that parents or guardians may remove their students from any class. 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/virginia-state-profile-23/