State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
- New York schools are not required to teach sex education. However, HIV/AIDS instruction is required.
- Curriculum is not required to be comprehensive.
- Curriculum must stress abstinence.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, New York’s Guidance Document for Achieving the New York State Standards in Health Education includes instruction on sexual orientation and limited instruction on gender identity.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent.
- Parents or guardians may exempt their children from HIV/AIDS instruction as long as the school is given “assurance that the pupil will receive such instruction at home.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
- New York statute has no standard regarding medically accurate sex education instruction.
In New York, Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (§ 135.3) dictate that health education is required for all students in grades K–12. This instruction must provide information about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV/AIDS instruction must be taught by teachers who have been given appropriate training and materials by the board of education or trustees.
All HIV/AIDS education must “provide accurate information to pupils concerning the nature of the disease, methods of transmission, and methods of prevention.” This instruction must be age-appropriate and consistent with community values and “shall stress abstinence as the most appropriate and effective premarital protection against AIDS.” Each local school board must establish an advisory council to make recommendations on HIV/AIDS instruction. Local boards of education may provide for the distribution of condoms in schools. They must ensure that all students who have access to condoms have taken part in an HIV/AIDS education program.
Parents may exempt their children from HIV/AIDS classes as long as the school is given “assurance that the pupil will receive such instruction at home.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit https://siecus.org/state_profile/new-york-state-profile/