State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
While schools in West Virginia are required to teach sex education, they establish their own standards for curriculum. Because HIV/AIDS is the only mandatory topic that sex education must cover, curriculum varies greatly across the state and even within districts.
- West Virginia schools are required to teach sex education; however, curriculum standards vary by school.
- Curriculum must include instruction on abstinence.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent.
- Parents or guardians may remove their children from any part of this instruction by written notification to the principal. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
- West Virginia has no regulation on medically accurate sex education.
West Virginia law (West Virginia Code §18-2-9) requires “course curriculum requirements and materials [to] be adopted by the state board by rule in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Resources.” This means all school districts must adhere to the West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Standards for Wellness Education. West Virginia Code §18-2-9 also requires human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention education within the general health education curriculum in grades 6–12. According to the West Virginia Board of Education’s AIDS Education Policy 2422.4, “[t]he goal of this policy is to assist in the protection of students by providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to avoid behaviors that will put them at the risk of infection with [HIV].” Each county board must integrate HIV prevention education into health courses and may also include it in “science, social studies, and developmental guidance” courses in order to “assure total understanding of the disease and its consequences.” Educators conducting classroom instruction about HIV/AIDS must be qualified professionals who participate in staff development to ensure they teach current AIDS information.
Parents or guardians may remove their children from any part of this instruction by written notification 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/west-virginia-state-profile-23/