Maryland HB 119 Would Mandate the Development of a Comprehensive Health Education Framework for Schools in All Counties


A measure in the Maryland State House (HB 119) would require the State Department of Education along with the Department of Health to develop a comprehensive health education framework; requiring each county board of education to create an age-appropriate curriculum that is consistent with the comprehensive health education framework; requiring each county board to establish a method by which a parent or guardian may opt out of certain topics, subject to certain requirements.

The legislation includes a minimum of 8 topics to be included:
1 – Health Promotion
2 – Mental & Emotional Health
3 – Substance Abuse Prevention
4 – Family Life & Human Sexuality *
5 – Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation *
6 – Safety & Violence Prevention
7 – Healthy Eating
8 – Disease Prevention & Control

(* Can be opted out)

If a student is opted out of a topic then they would be given alternative learning objectives and measurable goals that meet State and local Health Education requirements. Topics 4 and 5 can be opted out of – however the legislation says that in reference to HIV and AIDS prevention – the County Bord may NOT authorize a parent or guardian to opt the student out.

District 38-C Delegate Wayne Hartman tells the Talk of Delmarva that parents are the ones that should make the decisions on when these topics should be discussed with their children. And while something like Family Life & Human Sexuality may be age-appropriate for one student – it might not be for another of the same age.

Hartman says that a hearing on HB 119 was held earlier this month with many parents speaking in opposition to the measure. This bill has had it’s first reading and has been referred to the Wayne and Means Committee – it is also cross-filed with SB 199.