Illinois state Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-8), state Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-77), Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA), Equality Illinois and Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Youth Center held a press conference Feb. 2 to reintroduce the Responsible Education for Adolescent and Children's Health Act (REACH Act), according to a joint press release from the organizations.
Villivalam and Willis are chief sponsors of the bill.
The REACH Act requires age-appropriate, comprehensive and inclusive personal health and safety education for K-12 public school students in Illinois.
If passed, the REACH Act will be phased in, allowing schools adequate time and resources to implement high-quality programs. School districts will maintain control by selecting their curricula and number of teaching minutes and parents will retain the right to remove their child from classes.
"Stakeholders and advocates from across Illinois recognize the need to ensure public schools affirm and equip all students with the inclusive tools and information they need to build healthy relationships and lead safe and supported lives," said Myles Brady Davis, director of communications at Equality Illinois. The REACH Act is the result of our coalition's ongoing community engagement and outreach with people across the state, including LGBTQ students in Carbondale and Springfield and more than 30 community organizations. Advocates want Illinois to act now to support all students in all parts of the state, and the REACH Act does that."
The REACH ACT is supported by American Association of University Women (AAUW) Illinois, ALPHAS (African-American Lesbian Professionals Having A Say), American Nurses Association Illinois, Bolingbrook Pride, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, Chicago Teachers Union, Citizen Action/Illinois, Comprehensive Sex Ed Now, Elmhurst Pride Collective, Equality Illinois, Everthrive Illinois, Hope Clinic for Women, Illinois Association of School Nurses, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Illinois Now, Illinois Public Health Association, Illinois School Counselor Association, Lambda Legal, The Liam Foundation (Rockford), Naper Pride (Naperville), National Association of Social WorkersIllinois chapter, Peer Health Exchange, Peoria Proud, PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois, Phoenix Center (Springfield), Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Prairie Pride Coalition, Rainbow Café, Resilience, She Votes Illinois, Uniting Pride Center of Champaign County, The Women's Center, YWCA Evanston/North Shore and Youth Outlook.