Conservative lawmakers in North Carolina have found a new way to prevent students from learning sex education in school.
As it stands, state law requires public schools to teach comprehensive sex ed, including abstinence, contraception, how to prevent sexually transmitted infections, and how to reduce the risk of sexual assault/abuse. The details are up to individual districts, but everyone has to follow that broad outline. The state also allows parents to pull their children out of those classes. In other words, there’s an “opt-out” policy for parents who may have religious objections to their kids learning about sex in school.
HB 196, however, would change that to an “opt-in” policy.
State Reps. Michael Speciale, Julia Howard, and Larry Pittman would basically force parents to sign a permission slip before their kids could learn about any of this. That’s a disaster for the very kids who need to learn comprehensive sex education the most. Getting their parents to say they’re okay with this information is a bridge many of them would never want to cross.
Seriously, how many conservative Christian parents are going to sign a permission slip so their kids could learn about condoms or birth control or STIs? They would think they’re signing their kids’ souls over to Satan.
There’s absolutely no reason to do this. It would make kids dumber, lead to more unplanned pregnancies, and increase the rates of abortion. The only upside is that the bill would appease evangelicals who treat education like it’s a dirty word. More to the point, it’s not like the opt-out slip is too much of a burden.
The ramifications of passing this bill would be huge:
“We do worry about the administrative burden on schools,” said Elizabeth Finley of SHIFT NC, a nonprofit working to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health. “An opt-in policy is much harder to implement, and we know that schools and teachers are already pretty stretched.”
“The challenge is that, when you have an opt-in policy, those sheets of paper could get lost in a book bag or misplaced or forgotten to return,” Finley said. “So, it’s not necessarily reflective of whether a parent wants their children to participate or not. Very often, it just gets lost in the shuffle.”
The Republicans just don’t care.
The bill’s in the Education Committee for now, but legislators needs to shut this down immediately. The current law is fine as it is. The state doesn’t need to adopt a GOP bill that would only make everything worse, just as you’d expect from that party’s proposals.
(Thanks to @Cl4ptheist for the link)