Governor signs sex ed, bullying bills into law

Governor signs sex ed, bullying bills into law

SALEM, Ore. – As lawmakers count down the final weeks of the 2009 Oregon legislative session, Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a series of bills into law today.

Bullying Bill

The law creates more strict and uniform bullying policies across Oregon school districts.  It includes the following:

  • Changes the definition of bullying to include hurting the psychological well-being of children.
  • Requires schools districts to write policies prohibiting bullying, including cyberbullying.
  • Mandates reporting all cases to the state once a year.

The Eugene 4J School District says their current bullying policies already fit under the state law.  In the Bethel School District, they say the mandatory reporting to the state will be the only major change.

“This legislation will reduce bullying and harassment,” said Democratic Senator Mark Hass when the bill passed the Senate.

Sex Education Bill

The law says every Oregon school district has to provide “age-appropriate” sex education as part of their health curriculum.

When teaching school-age children, the new law changes some existing language to say teachers must promote abstinence as the “most effective way to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.”  However, the law goes on to say abstinence may not be taught “to the exclusion of other material and instruction on contraceptive and disease reduction measures.”

Immunization Bill

The law expands access to immunizations by allowing pharmacists to give vaccines to people who are at least 11 years old.

Waste Water Bill

The law encourages the appropriate reuse of “gray water.”  Gray water is waste water from household uses, such as from kitchens and bathrooms.