Senate Bill 856: Erin's Law
In 2015, Oregon passed Senate Bill 856, which mandates that students receive age-appropriate instruction to help them recognize and respond to unsafe situations, and to increase awareness of child sexual abuse.* You may have heard of this legislation under its more common name, "Erin's Law." Erin’s Law requires public schools to provide a minimum of four child sexual abuse prevention education lessons a year for children in pre-kindergarten through high school.
One requirement of this law is that schools provide an age-appropriate curriculum to all students relating to sexual abuse prevention, which may include a variety of discussions, activities, videos, and role-playing of safety phrasing through scenario situations. The purpose of the lessons is to provide students, in a nurturing and caring environment, the tools needed for personal safety. Over the course of the school year, your student’s teacher(s), a counselor, and/or another trained professional will be presenting lessons to the class to meet the requirements of Erin’s Law. Parents/guardians should be available for further discussion with students at home.
At most grade levels, sexual violence prevention (Erin’s Law) curriculum is worked into comprehensive sexuality education. Lessons by grade level can be accessed on HSD’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education Plan website. Updates to lessons/curriculum are managed in accordance with OAR 581-022-2050.
*Please know that in accordance with OAR 581-022-1910, HSD will continue to allow parents (and students 18 and older, and legally emancipated minors) to submit a written request to the school principal if they would like to "opt out" of specific learning activities.
The following is a list of procedures for families and schools:
- Family contacts building administrator to discuss any areas of concern regarding the learning activities in question and/or review any of the curriculum materials.
- School personnel informs family regarding the requirements of a written request exemption as addressed in OAR 581-022-1910.
- Building administrator evaluates proposal from family for approval.
- Following the approval, and upon completion of the alternative learning activity, credit shall be granted to the student.
About Erin's Law
Erin’s Law is named after childhood sexual assault survivor, author, speaker and activist Erin Merryn.
In 2012, Erin introduced the legislation in her home state of Illinois, requiring that all public schools implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program. The bill was named after her by the legislators, and it has caught on nationwide, adopted by 31 states and with legislation introduced in 18 states so far.
Oregon adopted Erin’s Law in June 2015.
Assistance and Information
*HSD High School Partner. Among other services, SARC
can provide a sexual assault survivor advocate when
requested - generally within an hour
located in Beaverton
24 Hour Help Line: 503.640.5311
*HSD Middle/Elementary School Partner
located in Portland
located in Hillsboro
Crisis line: 503.469.8620
Crisis line: 503.232.4448
Gresham office: 503.669.8350
Portland office: 503.231.4866
1.800.799.7233 or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
24/7 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or live chat in English or Español
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.621.HOPE (4673)
Crime Victims’ Hotline: 1.866.689.HELP (4357)
Intake Hotline: 503.274.5477 X6
Spanish speaking staff available
Office for School Performance