Disclaimer: the topic of this blog post is mature but it is necessary for parents to be properly informed about their children's education. Comments will not be accepted for this post.
Mark Twain famously said, "No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session." He should have added children to the mix.
The most pressing issue, in my opinion, is HB215. This modifies state law to allow for greater latitude in teaching children sexuality education (also known as Comprehensive Sexuality Education or CSE) which, as it has been implemented in other states, goes far beyond biology and medical facts. HB215:
1) decriminalizes providing IUD's and abortion services to minor children without parental consent and
2) REMOVES some common-sense prohibitions from school curriculum guidelines in K-12.
For example, current law includes the following that will be removed should this law pass.
1. Stressing the importance of abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases. *
2. Instruction is not allowed to facilitate or encourage the violation of any state or federal criminal law.*
3. Local school district material is not currently allowed to go into "how to", including erotic behavior, etc.**
Our current state law allows for abstinence-based instruction, not abstinence-only. It is also Opt-in, meaning parents have to agree to let their children participate. Parents also are able to review the contents and in many cases are invited to attend. To see the current FAQs from the State Board website, click here. These FAQs indicate what is CURRENTLY being taught. Everything proponents of CSE and this bill state, are already being taught and discussed.
The media is trying to portray our current instruction as being too prudish and not providing students with accurate information. A poll asked Utahns if they preferred an ***abstinence-ONLY approach versus a comprehensive approach. No definition of what these two terms meant was provided. Most people approved of the 'comprehensive' approach. But it most decidedly didn't ask if instruction in erotic behavior should be included in K-12 school curricula.
For information on how CSE is being marketed here and used in other states, please download this PowerPoint. If you look at lines 136-144, lines 191-197, lines 220-240 and lines 260-26 in HB215, you will see what state law is being changed that will now allow CSE curricula as outlined in the PowerPoint. The worst part is that CSE downplays the risk factors that lead to unwanted pregnancies and STIs. In the interest of providing a 'more comprehensive' sexual instruction to our children, we are doing them a grave disservice by downplaying the risks (both physical and emotional) that accompany sexual activity.
The job of the schools is not to promote a view of society absent reality. Our job should be to present the facts that our children will need about this important topic. Everything else, parents can choose to present at home.
Talking Points on HB215: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUjUSlTes-4XzNOTzVHZnZiQjg
War on Children video (10 min or 35 min documentary): http://www.comprehensivesexualityeducation.org/
1 hour presentation by Dr. Miriam Grossman, M.D. on a CSE curricula being implemented in Ontario, Canada. About 19 minutes in she compares the instruction on smoking and alcohol to CSE and then provides medical information that most people didn't learn in school either. Note: This is what CSE should actually mean.
* [(b) (i) That instruction shall stress:]
137 [(A) the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity
138 after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases; and]
139 [(B) personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity.]
140 [(ii) (A) At no time may instruction be provided, including responses to spontaneous
141 questions raised by students, regarding any means or methods that facilitate or encourage the
142 violation of any state or federal criminal law by a minor or an adult.]
143 [(B) Subsection (1)(b)(ii)(A) does not preclude an instructor from responding to a
144 spontaneous question as long as the response is consistent with the provisions of this section.]
** [emphasizing abstinence
192 before marriage and fidelity after marriage, and prohibiting instruction in:];
193 [(I) the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;]
194 [(II) the advocacy of homosexuality;]
195 [(III) the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices;
197 [(IV) the advocacy of sexual activity outside of marriage;]
***Utah law allows for an abstinence-based approach, not abstinence-only. So, the poll was disingenuous to begin with.