"Yes means yes" proposal would mean new standard for sex ed - WNEM TV 5

"Yes means yes" proposal would mean new standard for sex ed

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Lawmakers in Lansing are now considering a proposal to mandate teaching affirmative consent, or “yes means yes” policy as the standard for sex education at public schools.

The proposal would require schools to teach that before sexual activity begins.

Consent from both partners must be given and that simply not protesting or resisting does not mean yes.

But it also involves teaching kids about sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“Consent isn’t about the absent of a no, consent is an enthusiastic yes, an agreement that somebody wants to participate in this action,” said Allie Martinez of the Underground Railroad in Saginaw.

Martinez’s organization works with sexual assault victims and wants to help fight the crime with bills before lawmakers.

House Bill 5791 would make materials regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment available as part of sex education for grades 6 through 12.

Martinez’s organization thinks it’s a good bill.

“We think that it’s a long time coming,” Martinez said. “We have been providing education just like this in the schools. Everything that they’re proposing that schools be required to do is already included in our education so we’ve been partnering with schools to provide this with schools for a long time and just sort of waiting for the legislation to catch up to it.”

The Larry Nassar sexual assault case has been a big reason that lawmakers are considering these bills, to educate young people about how to deal with sexual assault and harassment.

The Michigan Association of School Administration has some concerns about how House Bill 5791 could be placed in student Codes of Conduct, but overall the organization supports the measure.

“Yeah, it’s very important information to have this type of knowledge in front of them in terms of sexual assault and sexual harassment so they know when to speak up,” said Peter Spadafore, the associate executive director for Government relations.

The bill now goes to a house judiciary committee on Tuesday, June 4.

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