Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill this week that would change the sex education curriculum being taught in Oklahoma schools.
The new curriculum deals with consent, which, at the moment, is not required to be taught in sex education classes.
“These topics consume their daily lives, and yet no one’s having these conversations with them,” said Sydney Friedrichs, with Domestic Violence Intervention Services.
Some of those topics include sexually transmitted diseases and what consent actually means. The changes come after a team of all-female lawmakers tackled sex-education reform.
“Being a freshman in the Legislature, I was surprised to discover that consent wasn’t already a part of sex education in classrooms today,” Rep. Merleyn Bell said.
That’s now changing because of Oklahoma Senate Bill 926. The legislation requires all schools to have sex education teach about consent.
“No means no. Consent is reversible,” Friedrichs said. “Just because you can consent to one thing doesn’t mean you consent to everything.”
The women who authored the new law hope it will teach students that saying “Yes” or “No” is an important aspect of any relationship.
“You don’t owe anybody an explanation of why you don’t want to do X, Y and Z,” Friedrichs said.
Sex education is not required in Oklahoma schools, so Senate Bill 926 only affects schools that currently teach it. Parents will be notified if their students will go through sex education, and they can opt out.
Senate Bill 926 can be read in its entirety here.
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