State Rep. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, has pre-filed legislation to make sure Georgia students are taught about consent during their sex education classes as a way to fight sexual assault.

House Bill 857 would require Georgia include consent curriculum in the sex education courses that are taught in schools across the state. The idea is that, while students are in their sex education classes, the teachers would be required to teach them — in an age-appropriate manner — what does and does not constitute sexual consent. The students, from kindergartners to ninth-graders, would also learn how to be aware of and prevent sexual abuse and assault.

In an announcement of the legislation, Clark’s office said she hopes the curriculum will help protect kids from sexual assault.

“There has been a lot of talk at the Capitol about ‘protecting children,’ and this legislation will go a long way in actually protecting our children and young adults from a real, tangible threat,” Clark said. “Equipping our youth with the information to understand what is and what is not consent can reduce sexual assault in our state. This is common sense legislation that is backed by science.

“Research shows that teaching affirmative consent during adolescence has a significant impact on reducing both perpetration of and being subject to sexual violence. If there is a way to prevent future sexual assaults, then we should not hesitate to employ it.”

HB 857 will be one of the pieces of legislation that the Georgia General Assembly will take up when it convenes for the 2022 regular legislative session. The session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 10.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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