Yesterday, July 13, REACH joined advocates from across the Commonwealth for a rally outside the State House in support of the Healthy Youth Act. Over one hundred people attended the rally, urging the House of Representatives to bring the Healthy Youth Act to the House floor for a vote. Despite passing the Senate with a near unanimous vote and broad support across the state, the Healthy Youth Act is currently stalled in the house for the fourth time in the past decade. The House only has until the end of their legislative session on July 31st to bring this important act to a vote.
If passed, the Healthy Youth Act would provide a state-wide standard for the contents of sex ed curricula taught in Massachusetts. The Healthy Youth Act would require that if schools teach sex ed in their schools, it must provide medically accurate, age-appropriate information, focus on building healthy relationships and help youth understand consent and boundaries, be inclusive of LGBTQ youth, and allow parents and guardians to opt their children out from attending sexual education classes.
The principles of the Healthy Youth Act are directly aligned with the work of REACH’s prevention team. REACH’s Youth Education Specialist and Community Engagement Specialist were among those rallying at the State House. Youth in Massachusetts deserve equitable access to understanding their bodies, consent in relationships, and boundaries.
With the current framework, student access to medically accurate and trauma informed information varies by zip code. While the Healthy Youth Act would not mandate that all school districts teach comprehensive sex ed, the required framework would be a vital step towards equity.
Please join REACH in asking House leadership to bring the Healthy Youth Act to the floor for a vote before the session ends! You can find your legislator here.
To learn more about the Healthy Youth Act or REACH’s legislative advocacy work, please contact Lauren Nackel at firstname.lastname@example.org.