HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

385

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

Relating to health.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that more than seven hundred teenagers give birth in Hawaii each year and the State is ranked twenty-third in the nation for teenage births, with 19.2 births per one thousand girls who are fifteen to nineteen years of age.

The legislature also finds that compared to non-teenage mothers, teenage mothers are nearly half as likely to graduate from high school. Forty per cent of teenage mothers reported living in poverty by age twenty-seven, and eighty per cent of teenage mothers reported receiving federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits within ten years of giving birth. Further, teenage childbearing in Hawaii costs taxpayers $32,000,000 per year.

Additionally, the legislature finds that among Hawaii high school students, eleven per cent report that they have experienced physical dating violence, nearly twelve per cent report that they have experienced sexual violence, and eight per cent report that they have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse on at least one occasion.

The legislature believes that an effective way to combat teen pregnancy and sexual violence is through sexuality health education that promotes healthy attitudes toward adolescent growth and development, body image, gender and sexuality, dating, relationships, and family. Sexuality health education can also provide teens with the information, skills, and support needed to develop positive values, make healthy decisions, and respect the important role that sexuality plays throughout a person's life.

Over the past several years, a number of states, including Hawaii, have enacted laws that require any school districts that teach sexuality health education to include age appropriate and medically accurate health information. The legislature finds, however, that providing clearer guidance on a more uniform and comprehensive approach to sexuality health education, greater flexibility in the implementation of the curricula, and greater public access to the curricula will strengthen the effectiveness of sexuality health education in Hawaii's schools.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Add specific requirements to Hawaii's existing sexuality health education law;

(2) Allow parents to request that their children not receive the sexuality health education provided pursuant to Hawaii's sexuality health education law;

(3) Establish the sexuality health education working group to address the complexities of providing accurate, age appropriate sexuality health education; and

(4) Require the board of education, department of education, and sexuality health education working group to collaborate to develop, maintain, and make available to the public a list of sexuality health education curricula.

SECTION 2. Section 321-11.1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]321-11.1[]] Medically accurate sexuality health education. (a) Sexuality health education programs funded by the State shall provide medically accurate and factual information that [is]:

(1) Is age appropriate [and includes];

(2) Includes education on abstinence, contraception, and methods of disease prevention to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, including human immunodeficiency virus[.];

(3) Helps students develop relationship and communication skills to form healthy relationships that are based on mutual respect and affection and are free from violence, coercion, and intimidation;

(4) Helps students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and stress management to make healthy decisions about sexuality and relationships; and

(5) Encourages students to communicate with their parents, guardians, and other trusted adults about sexuality and intimate relations.

(b) At a teacher's discretion, the teacher may answer in good faith any question initiated by a student or students that is reasonably related to and consistent with the material of a course provided pursuant to subsection (a).

(c) The department of education may eliminate or modify components of instruction required under subsection (a)(2) in elementary school for reasons of age appropriateness.

(d) Sexuality health education provided pursuant to this section shall not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

(e) A student shall be excused from any part of the instruction provided pursuant to this section only upon the written request of the student's parents or legal guardian. A student shall not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty, or other sanction if the student's parent or legal guardian requests that the student not receive the instruction provided under this section.

(f) The department of education shall establish minimum education and training qualifications for sexuality health education teachers.

[(b)] (g) For the purposes of this section:

"Age appropriate" means suitable to a particular age or age group based on developing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacity typical for that age or age group.

"Factual information" means medical, psychiatric, psychological, empirical, or statistical information that is verified or supported by research conducted by recognized medical, psychiatric, psychological, and public health professionals or organizations.

"Medically accurate" means verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant field, such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

"Sexuality health education" means education in any medium regarding human development and sexuality, including education on pregnancy, family planning, and sexually transmitted diseases."

SECTION 3. (a) There is established within the department of education for administrative purposes the sexuality health education working group to address the complexities of providing accurate, age appropriate sexuality health education and to report to the legislature.

(b) The working group shall consist of the following members:

(1) The superintendent of education or the superintendent's designee, who shall serve as chair of the working group;

(2) A member of the board of education selected by the chairperson of the board of education;

(3) A member of the senate selected by the senate president;

(4) A member of the house of representatives selected by the speaker of the house of representatives; and

(5) The following persons who shall be invited to serve as members:

(A) The president of the Hawaii State Teacher's Association or the president's designee;

(B) A representative of the Hawaii Youth Services Network;

(C) A representative of the Kapiolani Sexual Assault Center; and

(D) Two physicians who are licensed under chapter 453, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and who have expertise in medically accurate, age appropriate sexuality health education for children and youth.

(c) The working group shall conduct at least three meetings that shall be held at the Hawaii state capitol. The working group shall convene at the pleasure of the chair; provided that the first meeting shall occur no later than August 1, 2019.

(d) The working group may request assistance and feedback from subject matter experts as needed to carry out its work.

(e) The working group shall submit to the legislature a final report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the 2020 regular session.

(f) No member of the working group shall be:

(1) Compensated for serving as a member of the working group; provided that members shall be reimbursed for expenses, including travel expenses, necessary for the performance of their duties; or

(2) Made subject to chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, solely because of the member's participation.

(g) The working group shall dissolve upon submission of its final report to the legislature.

SECTION 4. The board of education shall collaborate with the department of education and the sexuality health education working group to develop, maintain, and make available to the public a current list of sexuality health education curricula that are consistent with this Act.

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

BOE; DOE; Comprehensive Sexuality Health Education; Working Group

 

Description:

Adds specific requirements to Hawaii's sexuality health education law. Requires the Board of Education to collaborate with the Department of Education and the Sexuality Health Education Working Group to provide curricula information to the public. Requires students to be excused from the provided instruction upon written request by a parent or guardian. Establishes the Sexuality Health Education Working Group.

 

 

 

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