- Florida Statute 48-1003.42 requires public schools to teach comprehensive health education that includes giving students “an awareness of the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy.”
- State policy reads that “course descriptions for comprehensive health education shall not interfere with the local determination of appropriate curriculum, which reflects local values and concerns.”
- Since enacting HB 545 in June 2021, all sex education instructional materials to be approved on an annual basis by the district school board in an open notice public meeting.
- Florida Statute 48-1003.46 allows school boards to include additional instruction regarding HIV/AIDS.
- If this instruction is included, it must teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age students, while teaching the benefits of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
- Lessons must also emphasize that abstinence is a certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, STDs, and other associated health problems.
- Lessons much teach that each student has the power to control personal behavior and encourage students to base actions on reasoning, self-esteem, and respect for others.
- Since enacting HB 519, K-12 health education must be age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate, and include instruction on the prevention of child sexual abuse.
- Parents may submit a written request to the school principal to exempt their child from sex ed. This is referred to as an opt-out policy.
- Florida standards, titled Sunshine State Standards for Health Education, were revised in 2012 to incorporate benchmarks that include the prevention and control of disease, teen dating violence, and internet safety.
- Florida provides example curricula that schools can adopt to fulfill their comprehensive health education requirement. One of these programs, Health Opportunities through Physical Education (HOPE), includes instruction on “human sexuality, including abstinence and HIV.”
- Florida also maintains a detailed database of health education standards online.
Some Sex Ed Advocates Within the State
- The Florida Department of Education’s Community Action Tool Kit
For more detailed information on how various districts in the state have been implementing these standards — and for recent legislation — you can read SIECUS’s Florida profile.