What's the Policy?New York State mandates that schools provide age-appropriate HIV education, but there is no state-wide mandate for comprehensive sex education in the state. New York State's HIV/AIDS education policy is guided by the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, part 135 (PDF). In elementary and secondary schools, AIDS education should be taught as part of the sequential health education program and should provide accurate information about the disease, methods of transmission, and methods of prevention, while stressing abstinence. Programs must be age-appropriate and consistent with community values. Parents may file a written request with the principal to opt students out of HIV education.
- It is important for program providers to find out what local district policies are in force, especially with respect to condom demonstrations, and adhere to the policy.
- If your district has an advisory council, consider serving on or presenting to the council. If your district does not have an advisory council, consider whether advocating to start such a council in your community would help lay the groundwork for improving sexual health education or condom distribution.
Health Education StandardsIn New York State, local school districts must align local curricula with the NYS Standards. The Physical Education Learning Standards and seven skills identified in the Guidance Document for Health Education are especially relevant for sex education. Many EBPs can be aligned with health education standards and will help schools support students in meeting their learning objectives.
ResourcesSexuality Education Policy: Who Makes Decisions?
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS): Part of the Community Action Kit created by SIECUS for sex education advocates, this piece reviews the federal, state, and local roles in creating sex ed policy.
State Policies in Brief: Sex and HIV Education (PDF)
Guttmacher Institute: This brief summarizes state-level sex and HIV education policies, as well as specific content requirements, based on a review of state laws, regulations, and other legally binding policies.
Aligning EBPs with New York State Health Education Standards
ACT for Youth: Evidence-based programs can be aligned with New York State health education standards at many points. To assist schools and program providers, Beth Mastro of Ulster BOCES, an ACT for Youth partner, has demonstrated how eight programs meet these standards.