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New Bill Mandates Lesson on Consent in Virginia High School Sex Ed Classes

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High-schoolers will get a mandatory lesson in consent during sex-ed classes if Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs HB2257, which passed both chambers.

The bill was proposed by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, who hopes getting high-schoolers educated about consent and permission could help curb the rise of sex assaults and unhealthy relationships.

It originally also addressed prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment and sexual violence, but the state Senate amended the bill to say just education “on the meaning of consent.”

The bill was killed earlier this session, before being revived after a few tweaks.

In 2015, California became the first state to pass a law requiring “affirmative-consent education” – teaching “yes means yes” versus “no means no” – in public high schools.

The Virginia proposal does not prescribe a specific curriculum. Current curriculum does teach the definition of consent in sophomore-level classes, but it is never mentioned again. Filler-Corn’s bill would incorporate the “age-appropriate” elements of consent throughout all high school grade levels.

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