Opting Out of Health and Comprehensive Sexuality Education & HIV Prevention:
California Education Code § 51937 (California Healthy Youth Act): “It is the intent of the Legislature .... to respect the rights of parents or guardians to supervise their children’s education on these subjects. The Legislature intends to create a streamlined process to make it easier for parents and guardians to review materials and evaluation tools related to comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education, and, if they wish, to excuse their children from participation in all or part of that instruction or evaluation.
The Legislature recognizes that ...parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children.” Parents also have the right to excuse their child from any and all sexual health tests, questionnaires, or surveys.
Please note that some schools have unlawfully prevented parents from exercising their right to opt-out. There is no exception to a parent’s right to opt-out of all or part of sexual health instruction. However, schools are not required to allow parents to opt-out of other classes such as history, language arts, assemblies, etc.
Do not let school officials tell you that you may not opt-out of sexual health instruction!
Schools are required to notify parents and/or guardians at the beginning of each school year, or for a pupil who enrolls in a school after the beginning year, at the time of that pupil's enrollment. If arrangements for instruction are made after the beginning of the school year, notice shall be made by mail or another commonly used method of notification, no fewer than 14 days before the instruction is delivered. By law, the notice must explain all of the following:
• Inform parents that the curriculum is available for parents to review
• Disclose whether the instruction will be provided by school personnel or an outside
• Advise the parent they have the right to excuse their child from sexual health
• Inform parents that in order to opt-out, they must submit a request to the school in
Opting Out of Standardized Testing:
California Education Code section 60615: Parents have the right to submit a written request to school officials to exclude their children from any or all parts of state-mandated assessments, including all California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests. However, this does not apply to the mandated California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). Opting-out should not impact your child’s grades or academic standing.
To opt your child out of these tests, write a letter to the superintendent or school principal letting them know that your child will not take part in the specific test (name the test) this year and ask that the school make arrangements for a productive educational experience for their child during the testing period.
(Tyler & Bursch, LLP Lawyers & Advisors)