Amid concerns about sexual assaults on college campuses, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill requiring high schools that mandate health courses to provide lessons in the prevention of sexual violence.
The measure also requires lessons promoting affirmative consent before couples engage in sexual relations.
“I firmly believe that by instilling in young minds the importance of affirmative consent and relationships built on love and respect, that we can reduce the sexual violence inflicted on young women,” said state Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), co-author of the bill with Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).
The law is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the legislators, and follows a measure signed last year requiring college campuses to improve policies to prevent sexual assault and to require that couples affirmatively consent before engaging in sex.
“Without … action, more than 100,000 students will be sexually assaulted on college campuses nationwide,” said Sofie Karasek, co-founder of the group End Rape on Campus. “By passing this bill to educate high school students about consent, California is taking a critical step towards lowering that number.”