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Policies and Guidelines for Colorado Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Standards and Instruction

What are the relevant statutes that guide Comprehensive Health Education?

CRS 22-25-106

Comprehensive Health Education Act

This statute recommends quality implementation guidelines for comprehensive health education programs. These recommendations include:

  1. reflect the health issues and values of the community
  2. establish a comprehensive health education advisory council or in supplementing an accountability committee or other appropriate committee, the board of a school district or board of cooperative services is encouraged to appoint members of the community who represent various points of view within the school district concerning comprehensive health education; however, a majority of the committee shall be comprised of parents of children enrolled in the district. Members may include, but shall not be limited to, parents, a member of the clergy, teachers, school administrators, pupils, health care professionals, members of the business community, law enforcement representatives, senior citizens, and other interested residents of the school district.
  3. (a) Promote parental involvement, promote abstinence from high-risk behaviors, foster positive self-concepts, develop decision-making skills, and provide mechanisms for coping with and resisting peer pressure;
    (b) Focus on the dynamic relationship among physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being; and
    (c) Integrate available community resources into the educational program.

Senate Bill 19-025 adds the following to CRS 22-25-103 Comprehensive health education topic requirements.

If a school district, charter school, institute charter school, or board of cooperative services (school) chooses to provide a local comprehensive health education program pursuant to article 25 of title 22, C.R.S., the school's curriculum must include information relating successor laws, referred to generally as “Safe Haven Laws”, relating to the safe abandonment of a child to a firefighter at a fire station, or to a staff member at a hospital or a community clinic emergency center, within the first seventy-two hours of the child’s life. 

CRS 22-1-110.

Effect of use of alcohol and controlled substances to be taught

This statute requires that students, kindergarten through grade twelve, study the effects of alcohol and controlled substances on the human system should be included in other branches of study and taught thoroughly and comparably to other branches of study.

CRS 22-1-110.5.

Education regarding human sexuality

Overview of legislation House Bill 19-1032 (C.R.S. 22-1-128) The Colorado General Assembly created the comprehensive human sexuality education act which underscores the importance of youth receiving medically and scientifically accurate information to empower them to make informed decisions to promote well-being.  House bill 19-1032 does not require sex education, but modifies the grant program and the content requirements for a school district, charter school, institute charter school, or board of cooperative services that offer a comprehensive sexual education curriculum.  If a district, charter school, institute charter school, or board of cooperative services chooses to offer comprehensive sexual education, it must be consistent with the content and delivery requirements in the statute.  These include medically accurate information about methods to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and promoting the development of healthy relationships as outlined in the new law.  In addition, the act does not require instruction on pregnancy outcome options, however if provided the instruction must cover all pregnancy outcome options.

CRS 22-1-128 Education regarding human sexuality.

(Revised by HB 19-1032)

This statute requires prior written notice to the parents with a detailed, substantive outline of the topics and materials to be presented in the portion of the curriculum that concerns human sexuality. Human sexuality education is not required, however if a school district, board of cooperative services, charter school, or institute charter school offers human sexuality instruction the instruction must be comprehensive and must meet the comprehensive human sexuality education content requirements: These requirements must:

   (a) Encourage parental involvement and family communication;

(b) Include medically accurate information about methods to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, and the link between human papillomavirus and cancer. Methods taught shall include information about the correct and consistent use of abstinence, contraception, including all FDA approved forms of contraception, condoms, and other barrier methods and must be taught in a cohesive, integrated, objective manner so that youth learn the full scope of preventive methods available to them and are empowered to decide for themselves which preventive methods are best suited for their individual needs, beliefs, and values;

(c) Promote the development of healthy relationships by providing human sexuality instruction on:

(I) How to communicate consent, recognize communication of consent, recognize withdrawal of consent, and understand age of consent as it relates to section 18-3-402;

(II) How to avoid making unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances; and

III) How to avoid making assumptions about a person's supposed sexual intentions based on that person's appearance or sexual history; and

(IV) How to avoid pursuing a sexual encounter with a person or persuading a person to participate in a sexual encounter when that person has not provided consent or has withdrawn consent;

(d) Include discussions and information on how to recognize and respond safely and effectively in situations where sexual or physical violence may be occurring or where there may be a risk for these behaviors to occur;

(e) Include discussion of how alcohol and drug use impairs responsible and healthy decision-making;

(f) Be comprehensive, age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, inclusive of a positive youth development framework, and medically accurate;

(g) Provide instruction about the health benefits and potential side effects of using contraceptives and barrier methods to prevent pregnancy, including instruction regarding emergency contraception and the availability of contraceptive methods; and

(h) For school districts that have established a character education program pursuant to section 22-29-103, promote the guidelines of behavior established in the character education program.

(i) Not emphasize sexual abstinence as the primary or sole acceptable preventive method available to students. A school district, board of cooperative services, charter school, or institute charter school shall not engage the instructional services of an organization or individual that is a direct or indirect recipient of money from the federal government pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec 710 as amended, because the guidelines of 42 U.S.C. Sec 710 are inconsistent with the provision of this section; and

(j) provide age-appropriate information concerning sections 18-6-401 (9) and 19-3-304.5 or any successor laws, referred to generally as “Safe Haven Laws” relating the safe abandonment of a child to a firefighter at a fire station or to a staff member at a hospital or a community clinic emergency center within the first seventy-two hours of the child’s life.

Comprehensive human sexuality education does not require instruction on pregnancy outcome options. However, if a school district, board of cooperative services, charter school, or institute charter school opts to provide instruction on pregnancy outcome options, the instruction must cover all pregnancy outcome options, including but not limited to adoption, abortion, parenting, and information concerning sections 18-6-401 (9) and 19-3-304.5 or any successor laws referred to as “Safe Haven Laws.” Instruction on pregnancy outcome options must be provided in an objective unbiased manner and must not endorse or favor one or more pregnancy outcome options. 

Nothing shall be interpreted to prohibit discussion of health, moral, ethical, or religious values as they pertain to comprehensive human sexuality, healthy relationships, or family formation. Such discussion is encouraged. However, human sexuality instruction must not explicitly or implicitly:

                    (I) Use shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools;

                    (II) Employ gender stereotyping language or instructional tools;

                    (III) Exclude the health needs of intersex individuals or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.

The legislation also states that:

  • School districts, BOCES, and charter schools may not engage the instructional services of Title V recipients during the school day.
  • The law removes the authority of the State Board of Education from waiving the sex education statute’s requirements for school districts, but does not remove the authority for considering waiver requests from charter schools or institute charter schools. The State Board is still required to vote as a body to either grant or deny the request and only after the request was submitted as part of a contract revision to the state by the charter school’s authorizer.

For full legislation regarding sexual health

HB 19-1032

CRS 22-1-128