State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance
Sex education is required in Vermont schools as a part of their mandated “comprehensive health education” program in public schools.
- Curriculum does not require instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the curriculum must be culturally competent.
- Curriculum must include instruction on abstinence.
- Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent. However, curriculum must include instruction on sexual violence.
- Parents or guardians may remove their children from instruction pertaining to disease if the content conflicts with their religious beliefs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
- Vermont has no law regarding medically accurate instruction. However, schools may work with relevant medical authorities to ensure instruction on cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus is up to date.
Vermont Statutes Annotated, Title 16 §§ 131, 133, 134, and 135 require schools to include instruction on topics related to sexual health as part of their comprehensive health program. Comprehensive health instruction must be taught in elementary and secondary schools. The comprehensive health program has 10 components that students must learn, four of which are related to sexuality:
- 1. Body structure and function, including the physical, psychosocial, and psychological basis of human development, sexuality, and reproduction; …
- 4. Disease, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as other communicable diseases, and the prevention of disease; …
- 5. Family health and mental health, including instruction that promotes the development of responsible personal behavior involving decision making about sexual activity, including abstinence; skills that strengthen existing family ties involving communication, cooperation, and interaction between parents and students; and instruction to aid in the establishment of strong family life in the future, thereby contributing to the enrichment of the community; …
- 8. Human growth and development, including understanding the physical, emotional, and social elements of individual development and interpersonal relationships, including instruction in parenting methods and styles. This shall include information regarding the possible outcomes of premature sexual activity, contraceptives, adolescent pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, and abortion.
Parents or guardians may remove their children from instruction pertaining to “disease, its symptoms, development, and treatment” if the content is in conflict with their religious beliefs. 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/vermont-state-profile-23/