SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Today, the Illinois Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 818, the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act, legislation that will establish the requirements for public and charter schools that decide to teach comprehensive personal health and safety education (grades K-5) and comprehensive sexual health education (grades 6-12) in Illinois.
“Everyday students across Illinois face unique challenges that prevent them from being their authentic selves,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), lead Senate sponsor of SB 818. “To meet these challenges, we must ensure that all students in Illinois can receive the age-appropriate education necessary to be safe and healthy. Senate Bill 818 does just that.”
State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of SB 818, offered the following remarks on the Senate’s passage of the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act:
“As a former sexual health educator, I know it is critical that young people receive a full toolbox of knowledge and skills to reduce harm and support overall health and well-being now and for their entire lives. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for passing the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act and I hope that my colleagues in the Illinois House will do the same.”
If passed, the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act will ensure that the comprehensive personal health and safety education taught in grades K-5 and comprehensive sexual health education taught in grades 6-12 is inclusive and affirming of communities who historically have been stigmatized or excluded including youth living with a disability, LGBTQIA youth, pregnant or parenting youth, and survivors of interpersonal and sexual violence. Additionally, this education will not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
The Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act is supported by a statewide coalition of community organizations including the ACLU of Illinois, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Equality Illinois, AIDS Foundation Chicago, American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Illinois, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Chicago Women’s Health Center, Citizen Action/Illinois, Comprehensive Sex Ed Now, Cook County Health, EverThrive Illinois, Healing to Action, Hult Center for Healthy Living, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Illinois National Organization for Women, Illinois Public Health Association, Illinois School Counselor Association, Kenneth Young Center, Lambda Legal, Life Span, McHenry County Citizens for Choice, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, National Association of Social Workers-Illinois Chapter, National Council of Jewish Women Illinois, Peoria Proud, PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois, Prairie Pride Coalition, Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Resilience, She Votes Illinois, SIECUS, The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, Uniting Pride of Champaign County, and YWCA Evanston/North Shore.
Senate Bill 818 will now move to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration and will be championed by lead House sponsor State Representative Camille Lilly (D-Chicago) and chief co-sponsor State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake).