State Profiles

New Jersey’s Sex Education Snapshot

Advocates in New Jersey have seen significant success in advancing sex education, most recently with the passage of four bills that require sex education curriculum to include instruction on consent, sexual abuse and assault, consequences of distributing and soliciting sexually explicit images, and the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act.” Despite these successes, more efforts are needed to ensure that young people in New Jersey receive comprehensive sex education.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, some advocates report that diverted organizational capacity away from programs working to improve sex education and safe and supportive environments in schools. Advocates report that virtual learning has made sex education less accessible in districts that have already failed to provide advanced curriculum. However, some districts have been successful in translating sex education to virtual learning. As the pandemic continues, young people continue to receive sex education that is inconsistent in both its delivery and quality across the state.

Advocates note that schools still use sex education curriculum that stresses abstinence, teachers lack access to training, and there is a lack of accountability regarding updated requirements. Further, advocates report that New Jersey’s Department of Health has not taken proactive action to support the expansion of comprehensive sex education because they continue to receive funding through the Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) Program. As advocates continue to work towards a collaborative relationship with the Department of Health, they have formed a new sex education coalition of local and statewide leaders, and have released New Jersey’s Sex Ed Report Card.

In the report, curriculum consistency across school districts was among the topics that received the lowest grade. 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. This inconsistency presents the largest barrier to sex education curriculum for young people in New Jersey. According to the Sex Ed Report Card, only 56 percent of students in New Jersey found their sex education classes useful, noting many areas for improvement. Most students reported that their sex education course failed to include instruction on sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual assault, and consent. Within New Jersey’s Sex Ed Report Card, students revealed that stressing abstinence in sex education instruction fails to empower students, indicating the need for curriculum that allows students to feel confident in making decisions about their health and future. To further advance sex education in New Jersey, advocates report that they need increased funding for advanced sex education programming and teacher training, and increased support from both the New Jersey Department of Education in addition to local boards of education. Further, increased public knowledge surrounding advanced sex education and an improved ability to dispel myths and concerns regarding advanced sex education is needed to further the reach of comprehensive sex education statewide.

Right now, advocates can take action to ensure young people in their community have access to quality sex education. New Jersey’s Sex Ed Report Card revealed that over 60 percent of parents support improving sex education in their district, indicating a unique opportunity for advocates to collaborate to advance local sex education curriculum. 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 along with the need for the Department of Health to refuse SRAE Program funds. Legislators must act to ensure that a bill to advance sex education includes a budget for teacher training and an accountability mechanism to follow the success of policy implementation. 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

  • New Jersey schools are required to teach sex education.
  • Curriculum is not required to be comprehensive.
  • Curriculum must stress abstinence.
  • Curriculum must include instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Curriculum must include instruction on consent.
  • New Jersey allows parents or guardians to remove their children from any part of the health, family life, or sex education classes if it conflicts with their beliefs. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
  • Curriculum must be medically accurate.

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 New Jersey’s profile.

2021 Legislative Session

Assembly Bill 5124 (pending): Aims to require sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education to include instruction on Internet safety and dangers of online predators.

Senate Bill 3500 (pending): Aims to require each school district to incorporate age appropriate anti-bias instruction as part of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. This instruction shall highlight and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, tolerance and belonging on topics including gender and sexual orientation; race and ethnicity; disabilities; and religious tolerance and provide information on how people form implicit and unconscious biases.

More on sex ed in New Jersey…


State Law

New Jersey law, §§ 18A:35-7 and §§ 18A:35-8, mandates at least 150 minutes of health education during each school week in grades 1-12. In addition, high school students must acquire 3.75 credits of health education each year.

State law also requires that all sex education programs and curricula stress abstinence.[iii] In addition, “[a]ny instruction concerning the use of contraceptives or prophylactics such as condoms shall also include information on their failure rates for preventing pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other [sexually transmitted diseases] (STDs) in actual use among adolescent populations and shall clearly explain the difference between risk reduction through the use of such devices and risk elimination through abstinence.”

In 2018, New Jersey enrolled P.L.2018, c.80, which requires instruction on the “social, emotional, and legal consequences of distributing and soliciting sexually explicit images through electronic means” at least once in middle school as part of the health education curriculum.

In 2019, the legislature enacted a series of bills to advance sex education in New Jersey. §§ 18A:35-4.37 was enrolled, which requires age-appropriate instruction in grades 6-12 on the law and the meaning of consent. §§ 18A:35-4.40 requires instruction on the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act” in grades 9-12. §§ 18A:35-4.5a requires instruction on age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in preschool through grade 12. §§ 18A:35-4.33 requires instruction on the social, emotional, and legal consequences of distributing and soliciting sexually explicit images once during middle school.

New Jersey allows parents or guardians to remove their children from any part of the health, family life, or sex education classes if it is “in conflict with [their] conscience, or sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

State Standards

School districts must align their health education curricula with the New Jersey Department of Education’s Core Curriculum Content Standards for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, which among other instruction requirements states that “all students will acquire knowledge about the physical, emotional, and social aspects of human relationships and sexuality and apply these concepts to support a healthy, active lifestyle.”

In addition to the Core Curriculum Content Standards, the New Jersey Department of Education published the Comprehensive Health Education and Physical Education Curriculum Framework in 1999. This provides a “compendium of sample learning strategies [and activities], background information, and resources” to assist school districts in developing curricula that will “enable all students to meet the standards.” The Curriculum Framework includes detailed suggestions for teaching about HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), STDs, and teen pregnancy prevention. The Curriculum Framework aligns with the Core Curriculum Content Standards and addresses a wide variety of topics for students in kindergarten through high school, including families, peer pressure, media stereotypes, the reproductive system, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, abstinence, contraception, gender assumptions, sexual orientation, and marriage. The Framework aims to “provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to establish healthy relationships and practice safe and healthful behaviors,” including instruction on “healthy sexual development as well as the prevention of [STDs], HIV infection, and unintended pregnancy.”

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 healthcare 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. New Jersey’s 2021 session convened January 12th, 2020.

TitleDescriptionStatusLegislative Topic
Assembly Bill 4386Requires schools to develop and adopt policies to promote parental involvement including procedures for the parent to object to instructional materials and other materials used in the class based on beliefs regarding morality, sex, and religion and procedures for the parent to withdraw the child out of comprehensive health education that relates to sex education or instruction regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual transitioning if the parent provides a written objection to the child’s participation. It also requires the parent to be notified in advance of such course content so that the parent may withdraw their child from those portions of the course.Introduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/Bills/2022/A4500/4386_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 2919Requires schools to develop and adopt policies to promote parental involvement including procedures for the parent to object to instructional materials and other materials used in the class based on beliefs regarding morality, sex, and religion and procedures for the parent to withdraw the child out of comprehensive health education that relates to sex education or instruction regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual transitioning if the parent provides a written objection to the child’s participation. It also requires the parent to be notified in advance of such course content so that the parent may withdraw their child from those portions of the course.Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/Bills/2022/S3000/2919_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 4231Lowers age of consent to behavioral health services including treatment for mental illness or emotional disorders to 14 years of ageIntroduced, Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee (2022)Mental Healthhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4500/4231_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 4109Requires schools to adopt policies concerning the needs of transgender studentsIntroduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4500/4109_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 528Required school district personnel to complete training program in mental healthReported from Senate Committee, 2nd Reading (2022)Mental Healthhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/S1000/528_R1.HTM
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 59Proposes amendment to constitution requiring parental notification for medical or surgical procedures or treatments relating to pregnancy to be performed on minor childrenIntroduced, Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/ACR/59_I1.HTM
Senate Concurrent Resolution 21Proposes amendment to constitution requiring parental notification for medical or surgical procedures or treatments relating to pregnancy to be performed on minor childrenIntroduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/SCR/21_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 2685Prohibits instruction on critical race theory and includes divisive concept languageIntroduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/S3000/2685_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 4042Reaffirms parental rights, prohibits instruction on sex, abortion, contraception, sexual orientation, and gender identity in K-5 and prohibits instruction of these concepts in 6-12 without parental consent and parental review of materialsIntroduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4500/4042_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 2648Prohibits school districts from instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for students in grades K-6; requires consent from parents or guardians for students in grades 7 through 12 for instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/S3000/2648_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3968Requires public schools to ask for parental input on comprehensive health and physical education curriculumReported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading (2022)https://legiscan.com/NJ/text/A3968/id/2583933/New_Jersey-2022-A3968-Introduced.html
Assembly Bill 3920Requires school districts to gain permission from parents prior to disseminating student health surveys that ask about things such as tobacco and drug use, sexual health behaviors, etc. like the YRBS, for example.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights & Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4000/3920_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 2481Requires public schools to ask for parental input on comprehensive health and physical education curriculumReferred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights & Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/S2500/2481_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3883Prohibits instruction on family life education, sex education, sexual health, sexual orientation, and gender identity from preschool to 4th gradeReferred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Sex Educationhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4000/3883_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3763Changes parental consent requirement for sex education from opt-out to opt-in; allows parental review of curriculum.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights & Curriculum Transparencyhttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4000/3763_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3824Removes diversity and inclusion instruction requirements for students in grades kindergarten through eight.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4000/3824_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3800"Parents' Bill of Rights Act"; requires public schools and school districts to provide certain information to parents and guardians and obtain parental consent prior to taking certain actions.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights & Curriculum Transparency https://pub.njleg.gov/bills/2022/A4000/3800_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 2328Lowers age of consent to behavioral health services including treatment for mental illness or emotional disorders to 13 years of age.Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee (2022)Mental Healthhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A2500/2328_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 2145Provides certain deceptive practices in advertising of pregnancy-related services (through crisis pregnancy centers) violate the consumer fraud act.Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee (2022)Reproductive Health Carehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A2500/2145_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 2679Permits minors aged 14 years or older to consent to certain vaccines without permission of parent or guardian, including the HPV vaccine.Referred to Assembly Health Committee (2022)HIV & STIshttps://legiscan.com/NJ/text/A2679/id/2517474/New_Jersey-2022-A2679-Introduced.html
Senate Bill 598Prohibits teaching of critical race theory in public schools; prohibits public school teachers from engaging in political, ideological, or religious advocacy in the classroom.Referred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://legiscan.com/NJ/text/S598/id/2475574/New_Jersey-2022-S598-Introduced.html
Assembly Bill 783Prohibits teaching of critical race theory in public schools; prohibits public school teachers from engaging in political, ideological, or religious advocacy in the classroom.Referred to Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://legiscan.com/NJ/text/A783/id/2475623/New_Jersey-2022-A783-Introduced.html
Senate Bill 2299Establishes a task force to examine issues related to the mental health of students and study and survey the resources that are available to schools and parents to address student mental health needs; and develop recommendations to ensure that students have access to mental health care programs and services in order to allow students to meet their educational goals.Referred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Mental Healthhttps://legiscan.com/NJ/text/S2299/id/2553855/New_Jersey-2022-S2299-Introduced.html
Senate Bill 2360Provides that required instruction on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention in grades preschool through 12 include content on Internet safety and dangers of online predators.Referred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Assault & Violence Preventionhttps://legiscan.com/NJ/text/S2360/id/2553860/New_Jersey-2022-S2360-Introduced.html
Assembly Bill 1630Requires that participation in school sanctioned sports be on the basis of biological sex.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://www.billtrack50.com/billdetail/1421150
Senate Bill 589Requires that participation in school sanctioned sports be on the basis of biological sex.Referred to Senate Education Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://www.billtrack50.com/billdetail/1423017
Senate Bill 2233Establishes rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their child to be fundamental and not subject to infringement of the State without compelling reason.Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://www.billtrack50.com/billdetail/1467191
Senate Bill 585Provides that a parent of a child attending public school who objects to learning material or activity that parent considers harmful may receive a voucher from the school district to enroll a student in a non-public school.Referred to the Senate Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/S1000/585_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 534Requires the Department of Education to maintain a list of textbook vendors that use inclusive material ("inclusive of the diversity of our society") and require school districts to use textbooks from these vendors.Referred to the Senate Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/S1000/534_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 386Creates the "New Jersey Reparations Task Force" which will develop strategic planning geared towards resolving racial disparities and repairing harms of systemic racism including within the education system.Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/S0500/386_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 358Prohibits conversion therapy.Referred to Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/S0500/358_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 1841Amends definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying to include further aspects of the affected party upon which such actions are motivatedReferred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Bullying and Harassmenthttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A2000/1841_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 1592Establishes “Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Affairs.” which includes departmental representative responsible for protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ youth and ensuring their access to departmental servicesReferred to Assembly Health Committee (2022)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A2000/1592_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 1517Requires school districts to provide anti-bias instruction as part of New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education and designate a chief equity officer.Referred to Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A2000/1517_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 1418Provides that a parent of a child attending public school who objects to learning material or activity that parent considers harmful may receive a voucher from the school district to enroll a student in non-public school.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1500/1418_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 1363Directs commissioner of education to develop a sensitivity training program for high school athletic directors, coaches, and sports officials of interscholastic athletic sports programs that provide information on topics including gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disabilities, religious tolerance etc.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1500/1363_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 1280Requires candidates for teaching certificate to complete mandatory anti-racism in education training.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1500/1280_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 938Creates the "New Jersey Reparations Task Force" which will develop strategic planning geared towards resolving racial disparities and repairing harms of systemic racism including within the education system.Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1000/938_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 935Requires Office on Minority and Multicultural Health to study racial disparities on sexual and reproductive health of African-American women.Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1000/935_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 891Changes requirements for diversity and inclusion instruction from being taught in K-12th to being taught in grades 9th to 12th because it’s not "age-appropriate".Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1000/891_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 660Establishes pilot program to create student mental health assistance programs in selected school districts.Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee (2022)Mental Healthhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A1000/660_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 186Amends definition of harassment, intimidation, or bullying to include further aspects of the affected party upon which such actions are motivated.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Bullying and Harassmenthttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us//Bills/2022/A0500/186_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 2812Provides that required instruction on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention in grades preschool through 12 include content on Internet safety and dangers of online predators.Referred to Assembly Education Committee (2022)Sex Educationhttps://legiscan.com/NJ/text/A2812/id/2532680/New_Jersey-2022-A2812-Introduced.html
Assembly Bill 6136Prohibits instruction of critical race theory in public school classrooms.Referred to Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee (2021)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.billtrack50.com/billdetail/1405083
Senate Bill 4166Prohibits instruction of critical race theory in public school classrooms.Referred to Senate Education Committee (2021)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.billtrack50.com/billdetail/1402722
Assembly Bill 5961Establishes “Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Affairs.” which includes departmental representative responsible for protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ youth and ensuring their access to departmental servicesFailed (2021)Sexual Orientation and Gender Identityhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A9999/5961_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 6089Requires candidates for teaching certificate to complete mandatory anti-racism in education trainingFailed (2021)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A9999/6089_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 4234Emphasizes right to object to sex ed instructional material and procedure to remove child out of sex edFailed (2021)Parental Rights and Curriculum Transparencyhttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S4500/4234_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 6149Requires candidates for teaching certificate to complete mandatory anti-racism in education trainingFailed (2021)Racial Equity & Justicehttps://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A9999/6149_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3232Prohibits "dismemberment" abortion. Withdrawn from Consideration (2021) Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A3500/3232_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 3725Prohibits "dismemberment" abortion. Referred to the Assembly Committee on Health (2021) Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A4000/3725_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 4848Asserts that all people should have the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization and choose whether to carry a pregnancy, give birth, or to have an abortion. Referred to the Assembly Committee on Health (2021) Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A5000/4848_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 5124Requires schools to teach instruction on Internet safety and the dangers of online predators as part of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.Referred to the Assembly Committee on Education (2021) Sex Education https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A9999/5124_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 5144Permits minors 14 years of age or older to consent to vaccinations, including HPV. Referred to the Assembly Committee on Health (2021) Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A9999/5144_I1.HTM
Assembly Bill 5560Amends New Jersey Code to require instruction on diversity and inclusion in grades 9-12, rather than K-12. Referred to the Assembly Committee on Education (2021) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A9999/5560_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 398Permits minors 14 years of age or older to consent to vaccinations, including HPV. Withdrawn from Consideration (2021) Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S0500/398_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 429Prohibits abortion after 20 weeks unless in the case of a medical emergency. Referred to the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S0500/429_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 3030Asserts that all people should have the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization and choose whether to carry a pregnancy, give birth, or to have an abortion. Referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens (2021) Reproductive Health Care https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S3500/3030_I1.HTM
Senate Bill 3206 Requires schools to provide instruction on diversity, equity, inclusion, tolerance, and belonging on topics including sexual orientation and gender, race and ethnicity, disabilities, and religious tolerance as part of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. Instruction must also include information on implicit and unconscious biases. Referred to the Senate Committee on Education (2021) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S3500/3206_I1.HTM

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 New Jersey’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results, click here.

New Jersey 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 New Jersey as reported for the 2017–2018 school year.

Reported teaching all 20 critical sexual health education topics

  • 24.4% of New Jersey secondary schools taught students all 20 critical sexual health education topics in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 86.8% of New Jersey 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

  • 85.9% of New Jersey secondary schools taught students about the benefits of being sexually abstinent in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 100.0% of New Jersey 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

  • 75.6% of New Jersey 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.
  • 100.0% of New Jersey 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

  • 88.8% of New Jersey 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.
  • 100.0 % of New Jersey 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

  • 70.6% of New Jersey 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.
  • 97.8% of New Jersey 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

  • 31.1% of New Jersey secondary schools taught students how to correctly use a condom in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 92.6% of New Jersey 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

  • 61.5% of New Jersey secondary schools taught students about methods of contraception other than condoms in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 98.9% of New Jersey 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

  • 63.4% of New Jersey secondary schools taught students about sexual orientation in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 95.9% of New Jersey 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

  • 62.2% of New Jersey secondary schools taught students about gender roles, gender identity, or gender expression in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8.
  • 95.8% of New Jersey 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

  • 58.1% of New Jersey 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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