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What Are My Rights?

New York State law protects a parent’s right to opt children out of any health and hygiene classes, including sex ed, which conflict with the religious beliefs of the parent. Moreover, a separate provision of New York State law allows a parent to opt children out of all HIV/AIDS education for any reason as long as they make a written request to the principal and assure that the children will be taught at home. Since New York City’s new sex ed mandate combines sex ed and HIV/AIDS instruction, any parent should be able to opt a child out for any reason. For a sample Opt Out letter, go to the Opt Your Kids Out Page.

It is also against New York State law for schools to make condoms generally available to students. Condoms may only be made available to students who are participating in HIV/AIDS education and only when each student is individually provided with accurate and complete personal health guidance by health service personnel or school personnel trained and supervised by competent health professionals or health educators.

Finally, federal law guarantees a parent’s right to examine the curricula that will be used in your child’s school. You can go ask your school principal to show you tha materials that will be used. Let the principal know what you think!

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