Illinois Senate Passes Comprehensive and Inclusive Sexuality Education Proposal After Intense Debate
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After a heated debate on the floor Thursday night, Illinois senators approved a proposal that could update personal health and sex education classes to make them more comprehensive and inclusive for students.
The bill deals with age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate content in health courses. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 would learn about consent, personal safety, and limits with others. The program would address puberty and healthy relationships in grades three to five.
Meanwhile, more in-depth discussions about sexual health and relationships would take place between sixth and senior years.
“In recent years, the news has been filled with reports of child sexual abuse scandals, sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual assault on college campuses, and the bullying of LGBTQ students and individuals from across the country. color, ”said sponsor Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). . “Our young people are seeing this blanket.”
Still, Republicans believe the legislation goes beyond what students should or shouldn’t learn in school.
“Here we are dealing with absolute nonsense to put perversion in our schools,” said Senator Darren Bailey (R-Xenia). “Yeah, that’s what it is. It is perversion.
Democrats calling for the measure swiftly hit back against the Tory candidate for governor. Senator Celina Villanueva taught sex education for years before taking office. She called Bailey’s comments “Trumpian talking points.”
“At no point does that say that a high school student will receive the same education as a second grader. They don’t even have the same math education, ”Villanueva explained. “You can keep your perversion and we will push for the real education of our students.”
Unlike previous versions of sex education bills, school districts will have the option of not teaching classes. This is similar to the decision parents or guardians now make when students reach sex education age.
Simmons to Bailey: “Lead by Example”
Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago), a freshman lawmaker and openly gay black man, also criticized Bailey’s derogatory language on the floor.
“This is the Illinois State Senate,” Simmons said. “I expect a certain degree of decorum and respect that we all have for each other – I certainly intend to lead by example. I find the word perversion deeply offensive and would ask that it be removed from the record.
Senator Neil Anderson (R-Moline) said none of the senators have a problem with the “medically accurate” information taught in schools. He cited anatomy and physiology as examples of good courses for Illinois students. However, he felt that the good intention behind the Democratic proposal served as a “fig leaf for a lot of bad things.”
“If you think it’s okay for a teacher in a public school to teach fourth and fifth graders about anal sex, oral sex and dental dams, then you should vote for this project. of law, ”Anderson said. “If you think maybe, just maybe, that goes outside of age adequacy, and that maybe it should be something that if you as a parent decide to teach your child, then do it.
However, the bill would not allow sex education until the sixth grade.
Ensuring the safety and health of young people
Villivalam noted that standards for the courses could come from input from young people, parents, sexual health and violence prevention experts, and health care providers, among others. Schools would also retain local control with the ability to decide on the curriculum and other learning materials.
“I’m more than happy to have a healthy discussion,” Villivalam said. “I understand that we all passionately defend our districts. Some of us want to make political speeches. Ultimately, it’s about keeping our youth safe and healthy with age and developmentally and medically accurate information.
The proposal was adopted by a 37-18 partisan vote. He is now heading to the House for consideration.