New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, joined by reproductive healthcare advocates from NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Planned Parenthood and the New York Civil Liberties Union, and other elected officials, today called on the New York City Department of Education to update its sex education programming to include an age-appropriate curriculum that also addresses sexual orientation and gender identity, along with annual reporting on school compliance with state regulations.
Sex education courses in NYC public schools initially were implemented to raise awareness about the risks involved when teens engage in sexual activity, such as teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted illnesses.
The trio of bills introduced on Tuesday by by Council Members Cumbo, Daniel Dromm and Vanessa Gibson, calls on NYC public schools to implement a more comprehensive sex education program that addresses developing healthy relationships across different sexual orientations for K-12 students citywide,supported the same efforts towards the inclusion of LGBT issues into the public school sex education curriculum in an effort to meet the physical and mental health needs of our LGBT young people.
Intro 952, which Cumbo introduced, would require the New York City Department of Education to report annually, information regarding school compliance with state regulations governing comprehensive health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve.
“As Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, I am calling on the New York City Department of Education to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our children by implementing a comprehensive sex education program for K-12 students citywide,” said Cumbo. “In order to curb teen pregnancy and sexually -transmitted illnesses or diseases such as HIV/AIDS, we must teach students about themselves, their options, and empower them to make informed decisions and cultivate healthy relationships.”
The three bills will be under consideration during a City Council oversight hearing on sex education in New York City schools that will be held jointly with the Committee on Health, the Committee on Education, and Committee on Women’s Issues.
“It’s time we discuss sex education in an affirming way that includes all the identities that our students may identify with and continue to review and expand on the curriculum as the times change,”said Bryan Ellicott, a transgender/ bisexual identified man, former NYC public school student and LGBTQ activist. “I want our New York City school children to be more knowledgeable and the ability to make better choices than I was, more able to possibly live in their own skin more comfortably.”