Q: What components may be taught in a sex education class authorized by Section 37-13-171, specifically: (1) Must the curriculum be limited to abstinence only? (2) If not, what are the limits beyond abstinence? (3) What authority does the local school board have in determining the curriculum of sex education courses to be taught in school under its authority?

A: The curriculum for sex education courses taught in public schools is not limited to abstinence alone, when, pursuant to Section 37-13-17(3), the majority of the school board has voted affirmatively to permit the teaching of sex education without the instruction of abstinence and has approved the curriculum. Subsection (2) of Section 37-13-171 provides that "a program or instruction on sex education need not include every component listed in subsection (1), however, no program or instruction may include anything that contradicts the excluded components." (Attorney General’s Opinion to Thompson dated April 13, 2009)