BOSTON (WWLP) – For the first time since 1999, education officials unanimously approved new sex education guidelines, which update recommendations for K-12 students.

Back in June, Governor Maura Healey held a news conference to announce that she was moving to update the state’s sex education guidelines for the first time in 24 years. The new framework will include everything from LGBTQ+ health and wellness, to mental and emotional health, to personal safety and violence prevention.

The new guidelines are different for four age groups: Pre-K through second grade, third through fifth grades, sixth through eighth grades and ninth through twelfth grades.

Governor Maura Healey shared in a statement, “Massachusetts is leading the way by providing a health and physical education framework that is inclusive, medically accurate and age-appropriate to help them make decisions that are right for their health and wellbeing.”

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s vote to approve the new curriculum comes after a summer-long public comment period. Based on feedback, changes were made. For example, guidelines on gender identity were uncoupled with those pertaining to sexuality and gambling addiction was added.

Updating sex education guidelines is nothing new for Beacon Hill. For the past ten years, the so-called Healthy Youth Act has been filed. It has passed the Senate four times, but the House never touched the bill.

Now, districts can put the new framework into place as soon as they wish, but the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education believes large scale implementation will take place in the fall of 2024.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in 1953 by providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on X @WWLP22News, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.