State Profiles

Kansas’ Sex Education Snapshot

Advocates have faced an uphill battle to advance sex education in Kansas over the past six years in an apparent backlash to a 2007 effort to advance instruction requirements. In 2007, the Kansas School Board of Education voted to improve sex education requirements, revoking policies that required instruction to stress abstinence and mandated parental consent for participation. The Board then voted to implement a policy that recommends abstinence-plus instruction rather than abstinence-only instruction. Seven years later, legislators introduced bills in 2014 (House Bill 2620 and Senate Bill 376) and again in 2016 (House Bill 2199) that would once again require parental consent before students could receive sex education instruction. Known as an “opt-in” policy, these requirements present an unnecessary barrier to receiving sex education. In 2017, young people from the Kansas chapter of URGE (Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity) called upon legislators to pass a state resolution requiring schools to teach comprehensive sex education.

While schools in Kansas are required to teach sex education, local school boards may establish any additional requirements for sex education curriculum. Further, Kansas standards for health education include instruction on puberty, abstinence, STIs, and laws associated with sexual behavior. Curriculum is not required to be comprehensive and schools are not required to include instruction on sexual orientation, gender identity, healthy relationships, or affirmative consent. Mandating local control over sex education presents unique challenges that have resulted in a glaring disparity regarding the quality of sex education that students receive. Such discretion allows for the implementation of policies and curriculum that stigmatize marginalized youth, such as students of color and LGBTQ youth, and presents further challenges in ensuring that low income districts have access to the resources needed to implement comprehensive sex education.

Right now, advocates can take action to ensure young people in their community have access to quality sex education. After contacting their local school board, advocates can determine what topics are missing from sex education instruction, such as instruction on consent, sexual orientation and gender identity, and contraceptives. They can then vocalize the important need for advancing sex education requirements in their community. Further, advocates can contact their representatives to discuss the critical need for advancing comprehensive sex education requirements. Advocates are encouraged to use the SIECUS Community Action Toolkit to guide local efforts to advance sex education.

State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance

  • Kansas schools are required to teach sex education as part of their physical education curriculum.
  • Curriculum is not required to be comprehensive.
  • Kansas has no standard regarding education on abstinence. However, the Kansas Model Curricular Standards for Health Education includes instruction on abstinence.
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent. However, the Kansas Model Curriculum Standards include instruction on laws associated with sexual behaviors, including consent.
  • Kansas has no standard regarding the ability of parents and guardians to remove their children from sex education instruction. However, the Kansas Model Curricular Standards for Health Education provides samples for both “opt-in” and “opt-out.”

State House Highlights

This section highlights sex education bills that were introduced during the 2020 state legislative session as well as bills that have been introduced thus far in 2021. These proposed bills ​provide a brief overview of both recent and current legislative action taken to advance or restrict sex education. For a more comprehensive look at relevant legislation concerning sex education and related topics such as reproductive health care, LGBTQ rights, and HIV/AIDS, continue reading on to the “State Legislative Activity” section of Kansas’ profile.

No bills have been introduced concerning sex education to date.


More on sex ed in Kansas…


State Law

The Kansas Administrative Regulations (§ 91-31-32) require that elementary and secondary students be taught “physical education, which shall include instruction in health and human sexuality.” Kansas does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum. However, in order to be accredited, schools must meet the minimum “performance and quality criteria” established by the Kansas State Board of Education. Kansas does not require parental permission for students to participate in health and human sexuality instruction.

State Standards

The Kansas Model Curricular Standards for Health Education outlines basic competency requirements for public schools. The standards establish the Family Life, Relationships and Human Sexuality content standards for kindergarten through grade 12. Students in grades 9-12, must be able to evaluate:

  1. Adapting to changes associated with puberty
  2. Adapting to change within the family
  3. Changing responsibilities from adolescence to adulthood
  4. Responsible behaviors within relationships (communication, abstinence, etc.)
  5. Potential outcomes of sexual activity (STIs, pregnancy, etc.)
  6. Impact of media and technology on sexual behaviors
  7. Laws associated with sexual behaviors (consent, harassment, assault, rape, human trafficking, etc.)
  8. Differences between individual, family, culture, community, and global values

State Legislative Activity

State legislative activity related to sex education does not take place in isolation from the broader embroiled political and policy climate. Attacks on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, and efforts to limit access to abortion care and other reproductive health care services  prevent students from receiving comprehensive sex education and accessing sexual and reproductive health care services. Below are highlights of current legislative activity related to these topics. Kansas’ 2021 legislative session convened on January 11, 2021. 

 

TitleDescriptionStatusLegislative Topic
Senate Bill 58Establishes parents bill of rights which entails parents right to direct education of child and allow for parental objection to curriculaPassed Legislature (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttp://kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/sb58_enrolled.pdf
Senate Bill 160An unrelated fishery bill that now institutes a trans youth sports ban as per amendmentsPassed Legislature (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttp://kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/ccr_2022_sb160_h_4005.pdf
Senate Bill 484Requires that student athletic teams only include members who are of the same biological sex unless designated as coedPassed Senate (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://s3.amazonaws.com/fn-document-service/file-by-sha384/c5675ca258f43b3b0470bd40ff499334450280f7ab5e28fa88fcde0750c47c9b8c02ff3896844ff0005068ee433713c0
Senate Bill 515Prohibits instruction on divisive conceptsReferred to Senate Committee on Education (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://s3.amazonaws.com/fn-document-service/file-by-sha384/4c2584920ee4dfa583d78aa7268ca0ce8aa9d9ce5b799d73fc8689129b5f1c2bf0834d145cd25903ad60be16a50566df
Senate Bill 496Establishes parents bill of rights which entails parents right to direct education of child and allow for parental objection to curriculaPassed Senate (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://s3.amazonaws.com/fn-document-service/file-by-sha384/769e8af161db02099b161aee9ab5df73b5408c86cb4d87506c49e9f12589acd6c8b71623bdeb18cf2f1a80b95b87a489
House Bill 2662Establishes parents bill of rights and academic transparency act which entails parents right to direct education of child and the right to review instructional material and object and opt child out of curriculum. Additionally allows for parents to review and object to library materialReferred to House Committee on K-12 Education Budget (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://s3.amazonaws.com/fn-document-service/file-by-sha384/c643ff481830498a530fea255ba3af6ae5e5e990d3a471ddfe34a13c45ecbb68a4ed0d8387a47ae94e75aefe1062d042
House Bill 2207Prohibits mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy with minors. Referred to the House Committee on Health and Human Services (2021) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity https://s3.amazonaws.com/fn-document-service/file-by-sha384/cf8fe22e22a94704b21f4c92f130899fcb36f4f8291960da1c41b906e2e0c5a4e2fb6eaf1b1c3b71b13ada59c50b324e
House Bill 2210 Prohibits medical professionals from providing gender affirming care to minors. Referred to the House Committee on Health and Human Services (2021) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity https://s3.amazonaws.com/fn-document-service/file-by-sha384/bc09a7bd17ee01969ce5c5b1e2cfef095e4899e2af8f619a33dabd08125123d443a7db8fbe60fe164df6f1c7e4b10450

Youth Sexual Health Data

Young people are more than their health behaviors and outcomes. While data can be a powerful tool to demonstrate the sex education and sexual health care needs of young people, it is important to be mindful that these behaviors and outcomes are impacted by systemic inequities present in our society that affect an individual’s sexual health and well-being. To learn more about Kansas’ Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results, click here.

Kansas School Health Profiles Data 

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the School Health Profiles, which measure school health policies and practices and highlight which health topics were taught in schools across the country. Since the data were collected from self-administered questionnaires completed by schools’ principals and lead health education teachers, the CDC notes that one limitation of the School Health Profiles is bias toward the reporting of more positive policies and practices. In the School Health Profiles, the CDC identifies 20 sexual health education topics as critical for ensuring a young person’s sexual health. Below are key instruction highlights for secondary schools in Kansas as reported for the 2017–2018 school year.

Reported teaching all 20 critical sexual health education topics

  • 14.3% of Kansas secondary schools taught students all 20 critical sexual health education topics in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 24.4% of Kansas secondary schools taught students all 20 critical sexual health education topics in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching about the benefits of being sexually abstinent

  • 73.3% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about the benefits of being sexually abstinent in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 88.5% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about the benefits of being sexually abstinent in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching how to access valid and reliable information, products, and services related to HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy

  • 57.4% of Kansas secondary schools taught students how to access valid and reliable information, products, and services related to HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 81.3% of Kansas secondary schools taught students how to access valid and reliable information, products, and services related to HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching how to create and sustain healthy and respectful relationships

  • 68.9% of Kansas secondary schools taught students how to create and sustain healthy and respectful relationships in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 87.8% of Kansas secondary schools taught students how to create and sustain healthy and respectful relationships in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching about preventive care that is necessary to maintain reproductive and sexual health

  • 51.4% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about preventive care that is necessary to maintain reproductive and sexual health in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 74.5% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about preventive care that is necessary to maintain reproductive and sexual health in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching how to correctly use a condom

  • 22.9% of Kansas secondary schools taught students how to correctly use a condom in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 43.9% of Kansas secondary schools taught students how to correctly use a condom in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching about methods of contraception other than condoms

  • 46.2% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about methods of contraception other than condoms in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 69.1% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about methods of contraception other than condoms in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching about sexual orientation

  • 27.9% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about sexual orientation in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 40.9% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about sexual orientation in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported teaching about gender roles, gender identity, or gender expression

  • 30.7% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about gender roles, gender identity, or gender expression in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 44.2% of Kansas secondary schools taught students about gender roles, gender identity, or gender expression in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12.

Reported providing curricula or supplementary materials relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth

  • 35.8% of Kansas secondary schools provided students with curricula or supplementary materials that included HIV, STD, or pregnancy prevention information relevant to LGBTQ youth.

Visit the CDC’s School Health Profiles report for additional information on school health policies and practices.

***The quality of sex education taught often reflects funding available for sex education programs. To learn more about federal funding streams, click here.

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