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South Dakota

State Information

State Policy Information

State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance

  • South Dakota is not required to teach sex education. However, abstinence is included as a topic under the required “character development instruction” mandated by South Dakota statute. Schools are required to provide instruction on disease prevention under the state’s Health Education Standards.
  • Curriculum is not required to be comprehensive.
  • Curriculum is required to include instruction on abstinence.
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent.
  • South Dakota has no standard regarding the ability of parents and guardians to remove their children from sex education instruction.
  • South Dakota has no standard regarding medically accurate sex education.

State Law

South Dakota law (§§ 13-33-1 and 13-33-6.1) does not specifically mention sex education; however, public schools must substantially conform to the educational standards established by the state Board of Education. Furthermore, the law requires that “character development instruction” be provided in all schools unless the governing body elects to do otherwise. Character development instruction “impress[es] upon the minds of the students the importance of citizenship, patriotism, honesty, self-discipline, self-respect, sexual abstinence, respect for the contributions of minority and ethnic groups to the heritage of South Dakota, regard for the elderly, and respect for authority.”

State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit