Massachusetts would become the first state to require that sex education in public schools include media literacy education if the Healthy Youth bill becomes law. The Senate passed the Healthy Youth bill (S.2113), pertaining to comprehensive sex education today by a margin of 31 to 6.
Thanks to the advocacy efforts of Media Literacy Now and Massachusetts Coordinator Tamara Sobel, the bill contains a provision requiring that sexual health education “incorporate opportunities for students to analyze societal and media messages.” An amendment offered by Sen. Cynthia Creem on the floor strengthened the bill language to say that such curriculum “shall” include media literacy, rather than “may” include media literacy. The amendment was adopted without objection.
This is groundbreaking territory, first because Massachusetts would be the first state in the country to refer to media literacy skills in sex education legislation. And it is also the first time lawmakers in Massachusetts have debated media literacy on the floor of the Senate.