K-12 Educators

Making the Case

In 2015, 40% of high school students reported having sex.1 Nine out of 10 South Carolina registered voters think comprehensive sexuality education should be taught in public schools.2

South Carolina law requires comprehensive sex education in public schools.

South Carolina passed the Comprehensive Health Education Act (CHEA) in 1988 to ensure that students receive an age-appropriate, comprehensive education program. This law stresses local control of content—meaning each district must use a 13 member committee, appointed by the district, to assist in the selection of instruction materials.

What material is required to be taught?

Grade Level Required Material
K-5
  • Community Health
  • Nutrition
  • Personal and dental health
  • Growth and development
  • Accident prevention
6-8
  • Elementary school curriculum above, plus:
  • Reproductive health and STI information (abstinence until marriage must be emphasized as the best and first choice for all youth)
  • Mental and emotional health
  • Substance abuse
  • Environmental health
9-12
  • Reproductive health (abstinence until marriage must be emphasized as the first and best choice for all youth)
  • Pregnancy prevention (contraception education must be given in the context of future, marriage-based family planning)

I’m a teacher. What am I NOT allowed to do and say when teaching comprehensive sex education?

The CHEA includes several restrictions for instruction. If you are a teacher or school administrator, you cannot:

  • talk about alternative lifestyles outside of heterosexual relationships.
  • distribute contraception on school grounds or allow a health provider to do so.
  • provide information or counseling regarding abortion.
  • show films or other materials that contain actual or portrayed sexual activities or intercourse.

Learn more about the Comprehensive Health Education Act (CHEA). Download

Which programs have been used in South Carolina public schools? Check out Evidence-Based Programs for Schools.

Want to find a program that’s right for you? Use our Assess for Fit Tool; to get started.

Get school leadership involved! Learn more about how schools can support young people in making smart decisions about their sexual health.


  1. Teen sexual behavior data: Data Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
  2. Lyle, M. (2017). South Carolina State Survey Technical Report. Columbia, SC: USC Institute for Public Service and Policy Research.