Education Committee supports Sen. Daughtry bill to invest in Maine’s comprehensive sexual education curriculum
AUGUSTA – On Tuesday, the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs voted 7-3 in favor of a bill from Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick. LD 254, “An Act to Update the Sex Education and Consent Curriculum,” would invest in Maine’s comprehensive sexual education curriculum.
“Having worked as a peer sex educator in high school and college, I have been passionate about this subject for a while,” said Sen. Daughtry. “Throughout my legislative career, I have tried to stay up to date on what our educators need in order to provide comprehensive sex education in our schools. Although it became clear that we do not need to change the curriculum, we do need to provide more resources. I am grateful to the Education Committee for voting to support this important bill.”
As amended, LD 254 would allocate $500,000 in ongoing funding to the Department of Health and Human Services to maintain their contracts with service providers, such as Maine Family Planning, that help provide comprehensive sex education. These services include: increasing prevention education staff; developing and distributing sexual health curricula; expanding access to professional development opportunities for Maine educators and school staff; and expanding access to sexual health education to engage parents, youth, and under-served populations, including the LGBTQ+ community. These services have been flat-funded for years.
During the public hearing for the bill, Lynette Johnson from Maine Family Planning said, “Maine law and Maine’s health education standards require medically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive family life education. Research shows that comprehensive sexual health education works [by] empowering youth to make healthy, informed, and responsible decisions about their bodies and relationships. Comprehensive and inclusive sex ed is critical to improve the lives and well-being of all young people.”
In addition to Maine Family Planning, the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Maine Medical Association, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU of Maine, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England testified in favor of the bill during the public hearing.
The bill now goes to the Senate and House for additional votes.