Opt-in policy for sexual health education and abuse prevention


Recent legislation enacted in Texas mandates that public schools implement an “opt-in” policy requiring written parental permission for students to receive instruction on sexual health and the prevention of child abuse, family violence, dating violence, or sex trafficking. This opt-in policy is in contrast to the opt-out policy, in which schools automatically enroll students, and parents may remove their children from the instruction. Texas is one of five states who have an opt-in policy for sexual health education and the only state to require parent opt-in for abuse prevention instruction.

Healthy Futures worked with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health to conduct a program evaluation assessing the impact of Texas’ opt-in policy on sex education in schools. Read the full report or executive summary below.

Full Opt-in Report Executive Summary

The opt-in policy is proving to be a barrier for students to receive sexual health and abuse prevention education and many prefer an opt-out policy.


“…Schools such as mine have additional barriers created by an opt-in system, such as parents that may have limited or no literacy skills, ESL speakers, cultural barriers, and just the general return rate we get for parent [consents].” Counselor/social worker in a public school district