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How sex education in Md. could change

The Maryland House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony Tuesday about a bill that would add the concept of "affirmative consent" to sex-ed classes in Montgomery County Public Schools. Another bill in the works aims to bring it to all public schools in Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland public schools could see an addition to sex-education classes if some state lawmakers get their way: They want students to be taught the concept of “affirmative consent.”

That’s the idea that two people should be in clear, voluntary agreement before engaging in a sex act.

Del. Maricé Morales, D-Montgomery County, is one of the sponsors of a bill that went before Maryland’s House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday. The bill would allow affirmative consent to be added to seventh and 10th grade sex-ed courses in Montgomery County Public Schools.

She said another bill is in the works that would take the concept to all Maryland public schools and allow other districts the freedom to decide in which grade the concept would be introduced.

Morales told WTOP the term affirmative consent comes from case law regarding rape.

“Where we found that the victim did not fight back or the victim was silent, in some cases, the court decided that there was consent.”

She said outside the hearing room, “I’m not an educator, I don’t have a Ph.D. in child development or child psychology, but I’m a legislator and I can bring in the stakeholders and I can say there’s something wrong with our culture right now.”

“And I’m going to do everything I can to prevent sexual assault from being so rampant,” she said.

Although Morales said Montgomery County’s Board of Education agrees with the bill, she’s read some opposition in a newspaper.

“There are some folks that believe that people like me are ‘people who don’t like men that much.’ So this is coming from the National Coalition for Men, and I will say, I actually love men,” she said with a laugh.


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