Illinois Capitol push to change how schools teach students about consent and relationships

Illinois Capitol push to change how schools teach students about consent and relationships

ILLINOIS (IRN) — There is a push at the Illinois Capitol to change how schools in the state teach about consent and relationships.

Teachers in Illinois already talk about consent as part of sex education classes in public schools.

But Democratic state Rep. Anne Williams said each school is different, and often the focus is on what’s acceptable in terms of touching at work or at college.

“Under current law, any sex ed curriculum must include a discussion on what constitutes consent,” Williams said. “But there is no definition of what that means. And educators are left in the dark on how to teach consent in an impactful and meaningful way.”

Williams wants to change the law to have schools teach about consent in terms of relationships in middle and high school, with an eye toward making it clear when a kiss or something more become sexual assault.

Williams said some of the need for her proposed law comes from the sex abuse scandal in Chicago Public Schools. The rest comes from the reality of relationships in 2019.

“As the #MeToo movement continues to evolve, and as sexual assault in our schools continues to be a serious problem. It’s clear that we need to ensure that all students receive age-appropriate instruction on what consent means,” Williams said. “Only then we will be able to ensure that our students are prepared and have the tools they need to have healthy relationships in the future.”