California Becomes the First State to Require Teaching Consent in High School
This is so important.
California will become the first state to require all high schools statewide to teach students about sexual consent, Governor Jerry Brown's office announced on Thursday.
The law requires that affirmative consent and sexual violence prevention must be taught in any high school that has made health class a graduation requirement, iSchoolGuide reports. The measure was supported nearly unanimously across party lines.
Five of California's largest districts, including Los Angeles Unified, currently list health class as a graduation requirement. The new law will take effect on January 1.
Here's what this means for California students: if your gym teacher is going to awkwardly show you how to unroll a condom onto a banana and lecture you about sexually transmitted diseases, they're also going to explain why it's so crucial to receive an affirmative yes from your partner before hooking up.
"I strongly think consent should be taught in school, because a lot of young high school boys are unaware that sex without a female's permission isn't okay," Eliz Aquino, a 2016 grad of Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo, whose school didn't offer sex ed, told Seventeen.com. "A lot of boys at my school would pressure their girlfriends into having sex, because they believe that just because you're in a relationship, you are entitled to their body. I really wish sexual consent was taught when I was a high school student." Eliz says she's happy the government is drawing attention to the issue of consent.
"I think it's very important for students to learn about consent in school because it will prepare you for life," Taylor Silverstein, an incoming senior at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, who took sex ed and human development classes in seventh through ninth grades and was taught about consent, told Seventeen.com. "This kind of knowledge is extremely powerful and important."
Last year, California became the first state to require that colleges and universities adopt an affirmative consent policy known as "yes means yes." The policy states that sexual activity will only be considered consensual if both people involved clearly express that they're willing to participate.
Of course, California has been in the news lately for a very different conversation around consent: the sexual assault case at Stanford that led to Brock Turner's six-month sentence in jail, which has since been shortened to just four months.
The more students are educated about the importance of consent, the less we'll hopefully hear about sexual assault cases like the one at Stanford. California Becomes the First State to Require Teaching Consent in High School: