Illinois Sex Ed Classes Must Now Teach Consent And Workplace Sexual Harassment

Daniel Biss
In this Nov. 15, 2016 file photo, Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, speaks to lawmakers while on the Senate floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. In a live video event Monday, March 20, 2017, Biss said he's running for Illinois governor in 2018. He becomes the latest Democrat to say he's seeking the nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Seth Perlman / Associated Press
Daniel Biss
In this Nov. 15, 2016 file photo, Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, speaks to lawmakers while on the Senate floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. In a live video event Monday, March 20, 2017, Biss said he's running for Illinois governor in 2018. He becomes the latest Democrat to say he's seeking the nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Seth Perlman / Associated Press

Illinois Sex Ed Classes Must Now Teach Consent And Workplace Sexual Harassment

Starting this fall, sex ed classes in Illinois for grades 6 through 12 will have to cover consent as well as sexual harassment at school and in the workplace.

The changes come as a result of legislation signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in early August.

Morning Shift talks with sex educator Betty Barsley-Marra from the Robert Crown Center for Health Education about how the new rules will change her work and how she plans to approach the material.

We also hear from Democratic state senator Daniel Biss, a co-sponsor of the amendment to the state’s sex education law.

On myths surrounding consent:

Betty Barsley-Marra: One of the things that kids struggle with a lot is they have all kinds of influences from music to television to film that kind of make it seem as if…the consent that you need is something you figure out because you know the “code”….If there’s not been a conversation, then consent has not been dealt with. You can’t tell by how someone looks at you…or how they behave in a particular way.

On sexual harassment in the statehouse:

Daniel Biss: Now, legislators and legislative staff…are obligated to have sexual harassment training. What we all should have said when that training was mandated was, “Whoa, this is way overdue, obviously. Thank goodness we’re having this training at last. Instead, some people in the capitol are kind of joking and feeling uncomfortable and teasing about it….Let’s get this right under the dome as well as everywhere else in Illinois.

GUESTS: Betty Barsley-Marra, educator, Robert Crown Center for Health Education

State Senator Daniel Biss

LEARN MORE: School sex-ed classes to teach about assault, consent under new state law (Chicago Tribune 8/4/18)

Illinois House passes amendment to law that adds consent to sexual education; bill heads to Senate (The Southern 4/28/18)