Health education is a required academic subject for students in all grades. In this class, students learn how to take care of their minds, their bodies, and their relationships with others. They learn the concepts and skills they need to be healthy for life, including:

  • social and emotional skills
  • how to set goals for life and health
  • how to find and use health services
  • good communication and relationship skills
  • how to set boundaries and resist negative social pressure

Under NY State law:

  • All students in grades kindergarten – 12 must have health education as part of their education.
  • All students must have HIV/AIDS lessons, every year.

Health Education Topics

As in any other school subject, each year students learn skills that build on the last year’s lessons. In health class, your child will receive lessons on:

  • Mental, emotional, and social health, including how to prevent bullying
  • Nutrition and physical activity
  • Personal health and safety
  • Growth, development, and identity
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention
  • How to prevent disease and illness, including HIV /AIDS

Sexual Health Education

We require all students in grades 6-12 to have sexual health education as part of their comprehensive health education lessons. We do not require a separate “sex ed” course in any grade.

Sexual health education must be:

  • age-appropriate
  • skills-based
  • medically accurate

Your school will send you a letter before sexual health education lessons begin in your child’s health class. You may ask that the school not give lessons to your child about birth control and about how to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections. The school will let you know about this opt-out process.

Summary of Requirements

You can find complete requirements and information about the curriculum for each grade level on the Health Education Requirements page.