Is a new law really the answer? Are teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among students so rampant that government must step in and take over what should be the job of parents? Well, let’s be honest, government is rarely the answer. Certainly not when it attempts to circumvent or undermine the role of parents in choosing how to raise and educate their children.
Opponents argue that the new law does not provide enough education on abstinence and goes too far in what is considered “comprehensive.” Furthermore, the new law requires parents be informed about the use of the new program and to opt their children out if they desire. The 2007 law had an opt in provision, meaning that if parents missed a notification or were not properly informed their children would not be forced to attend these classes without their approval. Taking a look at what many “comprehensive” sex education programs include, many parents would want their children NOT to be exposed to this type of graphic and completely age-inappropriate information.
The Heritage Foundation did a study of the information these types of “comprehensive” programs include. Frankly, the curriculum is far too graphic to be included here and is certainly not appropriate for children. Essentially, it does not teach the basic scientific information that I learned during the sex education section of my 6th grade biology class. Rather, it teaches students, grades 4-12 how to engage in sexually activity – albeit safely. There are even sections entitled “Mom and Dad Don’t Need to Know About Your Condoms.” Needles to say, when the Heritage Foundation asked parents about their level of approval on some of these topics, the majority of parents strongly disapproved.
Supporters argued that this new law is necessary to help prevent teen pregnancy, but teen pregnancy rates both nationally and in Colorado have steadily declined in recent years according to a 2012 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment report. While there are some counties in Colorado that face higher-than-average teen pregnancy rates (Pueblo, Denver, Weld, Adams and Mesa), it is not the role of government to fill in what some may consider gap in sex education. That should be left up to parents.
Instead, schools should be focused on teaching their students the important things that will prepare them for college and work – reading, math, and science. Certainly, the basic scientific information related to sex education should be taught as part of science curriculum, but that is where it should end. Again, parents should be in charge of their child’s education, which certainly includes sex education. Parents should decide how, what and when their child learns about sex, not the school. HB 1081 not only intervenes in that choice for parents but it is a distraction from the real problems in K-12 education.