Archive for Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kansas bill would require parental consent for sex education

February 18, 2015

— Schools would be barred from giving sex education lessons to students without their parents' consent under a bill discussed Tuesday by the Kansas House Education Committee.

The bill would require school districts to share any sexual education materials with parents and obtain their written consent before teaching the subject to their children. Several parents and teachers testified in favor of the measure, saying that it would allow parents to reassert their right to raise their children according to their morals.

Some Kansas school districts have already instituted policies known as "opt in" programs where only students with written parental consent may participate in sex education lessons, but others remain "opt out" districts where the students will be present for the lessons unless parents actively request they be excluded.

Rosy Schmidt of Andover said "opt in" should be the state standard, because otherwise parents may be unaware of what the sex education curriculum entails.

"If there's no opt in, we have no idea what's being given to our captive, submissive children who are told to listen to their teacher," Schmidt said.

But Rev. Eleanor McCormick, an associate pastor at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, testified that many children would be deprived of important information as a result of the bill if they did not get their parents' consent for one reason or another.

"Silencing these conversations in our schools intentionally or unintentionally does not protect our children," she said.

An identical bill was endorsed by the committee last year, but did not pass beyond the House floor.

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