BOSTON (WWLP) – Students joined lawmakers and advocates at the State House on Tuesday.

Students took the day off from class to rally at the State House for comprehensive sex education in schools. Different forms of the Healthy Youth Act have been floating around the legislature for over a decade. The Senate has passed the bill four times however, it has never gotten traction in the House.

Tuesday’s lobby day was organized to help educate lawmakers on the legislation and to bring attention to the issues facing today’s youth. The act would streamline sex education in the Commonwealth, so regardless of where a student lived they could receive the same lesson plans.

Now the legislation does not mandate sex education in all districts, but rather it would require districts that do offer this type of education to provide medically accurate and age-appropriate materials.

“We’re doing a great disservice to our children by not talking about real-life issues, and it certainly can be done in a fashion that is age-appropriate, medically accurate, all-inclusive,” Rep. Jim O’Day said.

“We need to think ahead. We need really need to focus ahead. We want, this is really, that’s what’s really we are here for, as legislators, we want to arm our children with information, so that they can be a successful adult,” Rep. Vanna Howard said.

Some topics that the bill would require to be taught range from gender identity to sexual orientation to dating violence and affirmative consent.

If this bill were to pass both the House and Senate this session and become law, parents would have the opportunity to opt their child out of health class.

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Ellen Fleming is a reporter at the Boston State House who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Ellen on X @EllenFlem and view her bio to see more of her work.