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By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Amid concerns about sexual assaults on college campuses, California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill requiring high schools that mandate health courses to provide lessons aimed at preventing sexual violence.

One of 35 bills signed by the governor, the measure also requires lessons promoting affirmative consent by both parties before couples engage in sexual relations.

“I firmly believe that by instilling in young minds the importance of affirmative consent and relationships built on love and respect, that we can reduce the sexual violence inflicted on young women,” said Democratic state Sen. Kevin De Leon, who authored the bill with Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

The bill is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the lawmakers. It follows last year’s measure, signed into law, requiring college campuses to improve policies to prevent sexual assault and to require affirmative consent before couples engage in sex.

“Without taking action, more than 100,000 students will be sexually assaulted on college campuses nationwide,” said Sofie Karasek, co-founder of the group End Rape on Campus. “By passing this bill to educate high school students about consent, California is taking a critical step towards lowering that number.”

The governor also signed a related measure that requires instruction in sexual health education, expands lessons in HIV prevention and requires the teaching to be inclusive of different sexual orientations. Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley N. Weber authored that bill, AB 329.

Photo: The teal ribbon represents those who stand by those who have suffered from sexual assault. California teens will soon be schooled in the signs of sexual violence. Wikimedia

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