Why is sex & relationships education important?
Sexual health education provides people with the knowledge to protect and advocate for themselves should they ever choose to have sex as well as understand if and when they are ready to have sex. It also teaches them how to say no when they aren't ready or do not want to have sex. One of the most important aspects is that it helps people feel used to and comfortable with talking about sex with their partners.
When people receive sexual health education they are empowered to make healthy decisions about sex. At the same time they are better enabled to reach their full potential in life by preventing circumstances that will inhibit them from reaching their life goals and contributing to their communities.
Advocating for Sex Ed Reform
Town Hall, Alexandria, VA
January 27, 2018
Take a look at my statement and question on HB 159 during a Town Hall Adam Ebbin and Mark Levine at Mount Vernon Community School, Alexandria, Virginia.
How is Virginia's sex education woefully inadequate?
13 states in the US require sex education to be medically accurate when it is taught in public schools. Virginia is NOT one of them. Additionally, in many localities students are taught the only option is abstinence and/or sex avoidance due to Virginia's statewide sex ed guidelines being inadequate, medically inaccurate and not mandatory.
When students are taught to stay away from sex and sex is presented to them as inherently dangerous then students are missing the opportunity to learn lessons that will help them feel comfortable talking about sex, as well as having power and control over their safety.
Not only are our students receiving medically inaccurate sex education (for those localities that choose to teach sex ed) but we are wasting billions of tax dollars on services to assist those who are suffering consequences from honest uninformed or misinformed mistakes. Education is the best form of prevention and is cheaper than funding services to address unwanted pregnancies and STD infections (including HIV).
I truly believe the HIV diagnosis that i received at the age of 17 while I was attending Fairfax County Public Schools is a product of our medically inaccurate sexual health education. If we pass HB 159, the Virginia House of Delegates sex ed reform Bill, then we will give Virginia's children a more fair chance at life. Instead of learning a harsh lesson as teenagers receiving an HIV diagnosis at a hospital or a positive pregnancy test, they will learn their lessons in their classrooms. This education will better prepare them to grow up to be contributing members of their communities unfettered by a life changing STD diagnosis or unwanted pregnancy.
Monday, February 5th, 2018
House Education Votes NO on HB 159 for
Medically Accurate Sex Education
Watch Hearing Testimony | Monday, Feb. 5
Delegate Rasoul (Chief-Patron), Graham Weinschenk (bill proposal author), Pablo Moulden and other advocates
Passed By Indefinitely: Action to allow a committee to reconsider legislation at a later meeting. If the committee takes no further action, the bill is dead. In this case, the committee voted to take no further action.
Is there a solution?
Currently a Bill (HB 159) is being put through our Virginia General Assembly that would mandate medically accurate sex education be taught in all Virginia public schools. This would give ours kids a fair chance at life. It would also save billions of tax dollars that we are currently spending to address the unwanted pregnancy and STD (including HIB) infection rates.
Currently it needs to be passed by the full House Committee on Education (Monday, February 5, 9:00am) before it can be voted on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates.
What can I do to help?
You can do one or more things:
Call the full House Committee on Education members and tell them to vote yes on HB 159 so the House can vote on it.
Make calls to your Virginia legislators (after it passes through the committee) and tell them to support HB 159 by voting yes and advocating for it amongst their colleagues (on both sides of the aisle).
Go to Richmond on Monday, February 5 (drive, carpool, train) to advocate for the Bill before the full House Committee on Education.
Join the Rapid Response Team and recruit others.
First call the full House Committee on Education members. Tell them you want them to support HB 159 for medically accurate sex education.
After the committee passes the Bill THEN Click here to find your Virginia legislators to make calls for the House vote.
Where can I find live updates and info on HB 159?
A rapid response team called "Virginia Sex Ed Reform Bill (HB 159) | Rapid Response Team" was created for coordinating efforts such as phone calls and organizing people to drive/carpool down to Richmond to advocate for Bill HB159.
You can visit this website’s contact page or Click here to join the Rapid Response Team’s Facebook group.
Richmond Advocacy Road Trip: Support Sex Ed Reform Bill HB 159
During the House full Committee on Education hearing (2/5/18) they will allow people to serve as "witnesses" saying whether they support the Bill or not and why.
We need as many people to show up to tell this committee to pass this Bill to the House floor so that the people of Virginia can have a say! Allow their duly elected representatives in the House of Delegates a chance to vote yes on this Bill so that our children get the medically accurate sex education they deserve!
CLICK HERE for the Facebook event.
CLICK HERE to add this event to your Google Calendar.
Virginia General Assembly
STEPS TO PASSING BILL HB159
We need the House of Delegates full Committee on Education to pass the Bill in order to allow it to be voted on the House floor. It is made up of 7 Republicans and 4 Democrats. This committee meets on Wednesdays. They give us a 12-24 hours notice before the hearing with the agenda of Bills that are up for vote.
During the hearing they allow a person to testify on the importance of the Bill. Additionally they allow "witnesses" to say whether they support the Bill and a short statement as to why. We need people to show up in support of the Bill in order to persuade the committee members to pass the Bill to the House floor. Please click the "Sex Ed Bill | Rapid Response Team" to get updates on coordination efforts and ways to participate.
We need the House of Delegates to vote for and pass the Bill. Currently the House is made up of 49 Democrats and 51 Republicans. We need a majority vote. All Democrats are likely to vote yes (but they need to hear from Virginians!) which means we will need at least two Republicans to vote yes in order to pass the Bill.
If the House passes the Bill then the vote goes to the Virginia Senate. The Senate is currently made up of 19 Democrats and 21 Republicans. All Democrats are likely to vote yes (we still need Virginians to call their representatives regardless of party) which means we need at least 2 Republicans to vote yes in order to get a majority.
Lastly the Governor either signs or vetoes the Bill. Governor Ralph Northam has recently expressed support for sexual health education reform.
Many people read this legislation and think no work needs to be done. That this is common sense and all that needs to happen is for the Bill to get on the floor for a vote. This is so incorrect. We need to pass it through the committee which is mostly Republicans who tend to vote against any sex education reform that includes removing sex avoidance from our curriculum. It will require a lot of Virginians calling them to ask for their support and for in-person advocacy. Same goes for the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate.
THIS BILL WILL NOT PASS IF WE DO NOT WORK TO GET SUPPORT FOR IT.
Virginia needs your help. Get involved today.