Consent Education for Every K-12 Student

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Despite the importance of consent in sexual and nonsexual interactions, only 8 states require schools to educate students on consent through sexual education courses. Congress needs to pass legislation that requires all schools nationwide to provide consent education. This would help combat sexual violence in our country by ensuring that every K-12 student has a chance to learn about boundary setting. It would benefit each student for the rest of their lives, especially women with development disabilities (autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, etc.).

Women with developmental disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual violence than any other group of people. The have an 83% to 90% chance of being sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime and a 49% chance of being sexually assaulted at least 10 times. They are more vulnerable to being sexually assaulted without knowing they have a right to say no because they have less access to sexual education and experience more social isolation than the average person. Both are important for giving individuals a chance to learn about boundary setting.

We recommend that any bill requiring consent education include the following provisions:

1. Provide schools with extra funding for sexual education and special education. The federal government should fulfill their promise to cover 40% of special education expenses. It is currently covering 14% of special education expenses. Increasing federal funding would give schools more resources to customize the consent education material to the communication needs of each student

2. Require schools to teach every student the same concepts, even if the delivery has to be modified to help those with communication or learning difficulties

3. Require age-appropriate consent education courses for children that teaches kids good touch, bad touch

4. Provide schools with funds for other education expenses that they will only receive when they are in compliance with this policy

5. Fund research on best practices for consent education, with a focus on students with special needs to ensure it is meeting each individual's communication needs

6. Provide schools that already teach consent education to receive benefits to avoid punishing schools for covering critical topics before being required by law

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