On July 14, 2015, Gov. Nixon signed HB 501 into law. HB 501 was introduced by Rep. Genise Montecillo and received bi-partisan support from both the Missouri House and Senate. The bill adds language to the existing sexual health education policy to require course materials relating to sexual education to contain information regarding sexual predators, online predators, and the consequences of inappropriate text messaging (aka “sexting”).
The new requirements fall primarily under the Healthy Relationships and Personal Safety Topics within the National Sexuality Education Standards. For more information on these standards, visit the Future of Sex Ed website. By including these topics in sexual health courses, Missouri teachers will empower students to make healthy and safe choices.
HB 501 goes into effect on August 28, 2015 and TPPP is here to ensure educators have the resources they need to cover these topics effectively.
Even in younger grades, students can build protective factors that lower their risk online as they learn and grow. Common Sense Media has a free Cyberbullying Toolkit with resources for elementary, middle and high school teachers. The toolkit and website also have materials for parents.
Safe Internet Surfing also provides lesson plans on internet safety as well as tips for parents and kids. They also have links to reporting websites if students encounter illegal activity online.
The National Crime Prevention Council provides a simple one-pager on sexting which could be used in a variety of settings.