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Bill requiring personal finance, sexual violence prevention instruction in public schools advances

By: - April 26, 2022 12:22 pm
Coins being placed in a piggy bank

House Bill 1263 would require district school boards to create curricula that includes personal finance literacy. (Getty Images)

A bill to require personal finance literacy and sexual violence prevention instruction in New Hampshire schools is closer to becoming law after passing the Senate unanimously last week. 

House Bill 1263 would require district school boards to create curricula that includes “personal finance literacy instruction designed to prepare students for success in making financial decisions.” Those lessons may be embedded into existing classes or included in the general curricula for a grade level, the bill states.

“This has come at us over and over in education, from the New Hampshire Bankers Association, from the (Business and Industry Association) … they all recognize this – this is an aspect of instruction and curriculum that needs to be emphasized in our schools,” said Rep. Rick Ladd, a Haverhill Republican and the chairman of the House Education Committee. 

New Hampshire statute already requires that school boards include instruction on physiology, hygiene, health, physical education, “the effects of alcohol and other drugs,” child abuse, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and other sexually transmitted diseases. HB 1263 would add financial literacy to that list in the statute, RSA 189:10

The bill would also mandate that schools include instruction in “prevention of sexual violence” – a move praised by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The bill replaces an earlier effort this session to include that instruction in a separate billHouse Bill 1533 – which was unanimously killed by the House in March. 

“Sexual violation prevention education has an immediate effect on families,” said Pamela Keilig, the public policy specialist for the coalition, at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “Students learn about healthy relationships and unhealthy behaviors, such as grooming, through this curriculum.”

And the bill would mandate instruction in “health and interpersonal relationships,” a designation Ladd defined as “how kids react to each other socially, and emotionally, physically, and academically.” 

HB 1263 passed the Senate on a unanimous voice vote after receiving a similar voice vote in the House. It heads next to the Senate Finance Committee, after which it will receive a second vote on the Senate floor before it can move to Gov. Chris Sununu. 

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Ethan DeWitt
Ethan DeWitt

Ethan DeWitt is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s education reporter. Previously, he worked as the New Hampshire State House reporter for the Concord Monitor, covering the state, the Legislature, and the New Hampshire presidential primary. A Westmoreland native, Ethan started his career as the politics and health care reporter at the Keene Sentinel.

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