Consent concept could be introduced in Md. in 5th grade sex ed classes

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers in Maryland’s General Assembly session have less than a week to wrap up their work.

Among the bills making progress: one that will introduce the concept of consent to middle and high school students.

A version of the bill passed in the Maryland Senate, and Sen. Craig Zucker, D-Montgomery County, said the “#MeToo” movement helped get the bill through.

“It has a new sense of urgency given everything that’s happened in the last year, and I think it’s important for students to understand,” Zucker said.

Zucker said there were two important features of the bill; it calls for the topic to be introduced in the fifth grade, when sex education starts.

“They’re going to learn about consent, but it’s going to be at age-appropriate levels,” Zucker said. He added that the bill allows for local control as each school district will write its own curriculum.

Last year, a similar bill died. But Zucker said this year, there was strong bipartisan support.

“I think there are some issues in Maryland that shouldn’t be one side of the aisle or the other. I sat down with my colleagues and worked through the bill, and this is how Annapolis works — or should work,” he said.

The Senate bill passed 45-0.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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