Giving Compass' Take:

• Laura Fay explains how effective sex education can create cultural change to improve relationships and protect students for sexual assault. 

• How can funders help to build and distribute effective sex education materials and curricula? What does sex education look like in your state? 

• Learn how states are teaching sex education

Maeve Sanford-Kelly was in middle school in 2016 when Bill Cosby, Brock Turner and the Access Hollywood tape associated with then-candidate Donald Trump dominated headlines. Distraught but motivated, she worked with her mom, Maryland state lawmaker Ariana Kelly, to write and pass legislation requiring students to learn about consent in middle and high school.

“Why don’t our schools teach us that this is not how we treat people?” she asked lawmakers at a hearing for her bill last year, which initially failed but went into effect last summer. “We cannot spend one more day allowing people to grow up and continue this culture of predatory behavior.”

Since 2016, the #MeToo movement has exploded, toppling dozens of powerful people for allegations of sexual harassment and assault. That movement is affecting classrooms too, as lawmakers and educators look to teach students about consent and how to refuse unwanted sexual advances. However, what students learn varies widely across the country, and adults disagree about what sex education should include.

Experts say that more comprehensive sex education could change the culture in the United States by preparing students for healthy relationships and preventing sexual violence. A new study shows that learning refusal skills can protect students from later sexual assaults, which researchers say indicates that improving sex ed should be the next step for the #MeToo movement — a way to both protect students from being victimized and prevent them from perpetrating assaults.

Read the full article about improving sex education by Laura Fay at The 74.