AND SAFETY EDUCATION
AND SAFETY EDUCATION
Nakisha Floyd, Abstinence Education Consultant
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In 2009 the North Carolina Generally Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law the Healthy Youth Act, significant legislation regarding the instruction of reproductive health and safety. The new legislation revises a portion of the General Statute115C 81(e1) e (doc, 33kb) and must be implemented beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.
The Healthy Youth Act of 2009 FAQs
2009 N.C. Sess. Laws c. 213; 2009 House Bill 88
- What is the Healthy Youth Act of 2009?
On June 25, 2009 the North Carolina legislature ratified into law the Healthy Youth Act of 2009 which modifies GS 115c(e1) the School Health Education Act. This Healthy Youth Act of 2009 redefines what is to be included in the human sexuality education component of health education instruction in North Carolina's 7 th, 8 th, and High School health education classrooms. The full text of House Bill 88, the Healthy Youth Act of 2009 may be accessed by visiting: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H88v7.pdf
When does the Healthy Youth Act of 2009 take effect?
The law is effective at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. Students in grade 7, grade 8 and high school health education classes will have the opportunity to receive instruction, reflective of the required guidelines under the Act, on reproductive health and safety education as part of the instruction they receive in their health education classes.
- How do ACRE projects like the revision of the existing Standard Course of Study to the Essential Standards, relate to the Healthy Youth Act of 2009?
The health education component of the Healthful Living Education Essential Standards is in draft form and reflects the language within the Healthy Youth Act of 2009.
- Who is authorized to teach Health Education in NC public schools?
Healthful Living teachers, counselors, school nurses and community health educators may teach reproductive Health and Safety Education. Individuals from outside agencies must meet Local Education Agency guidelines for guest speakers.
- How can schools prepare for the Healthy Youth Act of 2009?
Schools may rely on their K – HS Health Education Professional Learning Communities as well as other LEA resources, to identify what instructional modifications are needed within their grade level-specific health education courses of study, what policies and practices need to be modified to be consistent with the Healthy Youth Act of 2009, and any professional preparation health education teachers might need to effectively deliver health education instruction to be compliant with the Healthy Youth Act.
- How many hours of direct instruction are required under this Act?
The Healthy Youth Act does not define instructional minutes.
- How many hours of direction instruction are expected for effective health education instruction?
The National Health Education Standards recommend students receive a minimum of 80 hours of health education instruction in grades 3 to 12 each academic year. In North Carolina as part of the Basic Education Plan (GCS-G-00) students receive instruction in health education directed by a teacher (GCS-G-002, GCS-G-003, GCS-M-001) concluding with successful completion of ½ unit of health education (GCS-N-004) at the high school level.
- What instructional materials and teacher support materials are recommended to meet the Healthy Youth Act of 2009?
Decisions related to instructional support and teacher support materials are local decisions. However, the law requires local boards of education assure that information presented in health education instruction as outlined by this act, be free of subjective bias, be based upon studies published in peer reviewed professional journals and be generally accepted by sexual health education professionals.
Local boards of education must give parents/guardians the opportunity to review all the objectives and instructional materials (including any teacher-generated or commercially-generated lessons) prior to instructional delivery and provide parents and legal guardians with the opportunity to consent or withhold their consent to the students' participation in any or all the programs.
- What professional development opportunities exist to support Grade 7, Grade 8, and HS Health Education teachers in delivering effective Reproductive Health and Safety Education?
Decisions related to health education teacher staff development are local decisions. For information regarding professional development please visit: http:// www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/healthfulliving/resources/.
- What policies and procedures should be in place prior to instructional delivery of Reproductive Health and Safety health education?
Policies notifying parents and legal guardians about the opportunity to review instructional materials before use as well as opportunities for parents and legal guardians to consent or to withhold consent to participate in any or all portion of health education instruction should be in place prior to instructional delivery.
- Can school systems teach beyond what is outlined in the Healthy Youth Act and state standards for Health Education?
The Healthy Youth Act requires each local school administrative unit to provide a reproductive health and safety health education program that begins in the seventh grade and meets the statutory requirements. The Act specifically allows each local board of education to expand on the subject areas to be included in the program and on the instructional objectives to be met. Therefore, local boards of education may elect to provide instruction beyond what is outlined in the legislation and state standards. The Healthy Youth Act repealed the local board of education's obligation to hold a public hearing before expanding the sex education program beyond the statutory requirements.
- NC Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative
- Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC)
- National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
For additional information about professional development, addenda to the 2006 Healthful Living Standard Course of Study and K - HS School Health Education, please also visit the HEALTHFUL LIVING PAGES.