Progress Illinois spoke with advocates working towards passing the comprehensive sexual health education bill, which would modernize sex ed for Illinois schools. The bill, which is likely to be called for a vote in the Senate next week, would create a standard for sex ed and provide students with medically accurate, age-appropriate and complete information, ensuring that they learn how to make responsible decisions about their health. Ramon Gardenhire, director of government relations at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, was one of the advocates interviewed for the article.
Illinois does not mandate sex education in schools. But under current law, schools that choose to have sex education programs must emphasize abstinence. Schools can teach lessons on birth control and contraception, but it is not required.
Currently, there is a “hodgepodge” of sex education curricula that’s being taught across the state, Gardenhire said.
The measure looks to set a baseline for what is being taught across school districts, while also providing room for local discretion in terms of what curricula districts choose to fit their community’s needs.