Massachusetts Senate Passes ‘Comprehensive’ Sex Education Bill Seeking To Introduce Non-Reproductive Sex Acts To Seventh-Graders

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The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill that would require school districts that teach sex education use a “comprehensive” curriculum approved by the state agency that oversees public primary and secondary education.

As New Boston Post has reported in the past, sex education curriculums recommended by the state Department of Secondary and Elementary Education recommend teaching anal sex as early as seventh grade.

The measure, Massachusetts Senate Bill 2686, is called “An Act Relative To Healthy Youth.”

In September 2023, the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education – sometimes called “DESE” – approved guidelines advising school districts to teach about same-sex sexual behavior and the changeability of gender identity.

Supporters of the sex education bill say the guidelines lack enforceability.

“The governor was working with DESE to bring the frameworks up to date. They’re great. But they’re guidelines and suggestions only,” said state Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), a supporter of the sex education bill, during floor debate Thursday, February 28 (at 46:30 of the legislature’s video). “The Healthy Youth Act turns them into a minimum standard. It gives teeth to frameworks, and ensures kids aren’t receiving inaccurate and harmful information.  This prevents bad stuff from being taught in our schools.”

DiDomenico called the curriculums required by the bill “LGBTQ-plus inclusive.”

He criticized opponents of the bill, saying that they have spread misinformation about it.

“The emails that we’re getting from some folks have been inaccurate, have been hateful, and have been a disservice to what we’re trying to do here. They actually have been a disservice to the kids that we’re trying to protect. By spreading false narratives, false information about what is being taught in our schools, and trying to scare people into voting no on this bill and turn the public perception against sex education, healthy relationships, consent, and LGBTQ-inclusive language,” DiDomenico said (at 48:30 of the video). “That is an absolute shame on their part.”

DiDomenico did not quote from any of the state-approved sex education curriculums.

In February 2023, New Boston Post published excerpts from three of the state-approved curriculums, including one from Planned Parenthood that provides a scenario about masturbation to sixth-graders and a scenario about oral sex between two girls to seventh-graders. The article also quotes excerpts from a Unitarian Universalist Association curriculum that recommends teaching anal sex to students in grades 7, 8, and 9.

DiDomenico noted that the bill would not require that local public school districts teach sex education. But if they do, the bill would require that school districts use what the bill calls “a medically accurate, age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health education” that is “consistent with the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum” approved by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

DiDimenico noted that this is the fifth time the bill has been introduced in the state legislature.

The bill’s language follows current state law in allowing parents to withdraw their children from sex education in public schools.

But the state Senate on Thursday rejected on a voice vote a proposal (Amendment # 9) by state Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), the Senate minority leader, that would have provided an opt-in provision requiring parents to provide written approval for their children to attend sex education classes before they do so. The proposed amendment also called for “a process for a parent or guardian, at the parent or guardian’s request, to inspect the instruction material in person or by the use of electronic technology prior to providing written permission for the student to participate in the course.”

The Senate passed the sex education bill Thursday, February 28 on a voice vote, without a roll call.

It’s unclear whether the sex education bill will be enacted, however.

Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) earlier this week suggested that he may not allow the House to vote on the bill this year.

The House speaker said it’s too soon after the adoption by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of sex education guidelines in September 2023.

“Given that it has been less than a year since BESE adopted the new guidelines, it is important that we give school districts adequate time to implement them, rather than rush to potentially amend or codify them into law,” Mariano said in a written statement Monday, February 26, according to State House News Service.


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