41 community and youth-serving organizations from across Nebraska have signed a letter of support of essential elements and are collectively calling on the Nebraska State Board of Education to include such elements in the final version of the Nebraska Health Education Standards.
“We must remember the intention behind the creation of the statewide health education standards—to prevent and reduce negative health outcomes for all young people. To do this, students need complete and honest information about their health and well-being. Together, we join proud Nebraska-based organizations in supporting these essential elements that meet young people where they are and help to create safe and affirming learning environments for all young people,” said Jo Giles, Women’s Fund executive director.
Organizations with work in communities across Nebraska have joined together to advocate for effective health education standards for all students. The essential elements outline that the health education standards must be created, informed and shaped by local and national experts in children’s physical and mental health and health education. The letter also calls for inclusion of developmentally and age-appropriate content that is inclusive of all students’ identities, including LGBTQ+ students and youth of color and their families. The collective agrees that the Nebraska Health Education Standards must include concepts on sexual violence prevention as well as concepts of human growth and development.
“Change can be difficult, particularly when it has to do with the education of our children. However, we need to examine how we approach health education as a state, just as we do for almost every other subject matter taught in schools. Health education should include sex education and information about how to be a better community member. We all want our kids to be healthier, happier and less at risk for negative health outcomes, including dating violence. The foundation of violence prevention is comprehensive, age-appropriate, science-based health education for all students,” said Jenny Bonta, Executive Director of the Rape/Domestic Abuse Program of North Platte.
The full sign-on letter can be read online and the list of participating organizations* include:
- ACLU of Nebraska
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands
- Black & Pink National
- CAPstone Child Advocacy Center of Western Nebraska
- Charles Drew Health Center
- Families in Action
- Family Health Services, Inc.
- First Light – Central Nebraska Child Advocacy Center
- enCourage Advocacy Center
- Girls Inc. of Omaha
- GLSEN Omaha
- Haven House Family Services Center
- Heartland Family Service
- I Be Black Girl
- Immigrant Legal Center
- Inclusive Communities
- Magdalene Omaha
- National Association of Social Workers, Nebraska Chapter
- Nebraska Family Planning
- Nebraska AIDS Project
- Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers
- Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
- Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, Inc.
- Omaha Girls Rock
- OneWorld Community Health Centers
- Parent-Child Center
- PFLAG Hastings
- Project Harmony Child Advocacy Center
- Project Response Inc.
- Rape/Domestic Abuse Program of North Platte
- Survivors Rising
- The Bridge
- The S.A.F.E. Center
- The Wellbeing Partners
- Voices for Children in Nebraska
- Voices of Hope
- Women’s Center for Advancement (WCA)
- Women’s Fund of Omaha
- Youth Emergency Services (YES)
- YWCA Lincoln
*As of Thursday, August 5 at 10:00 AM