A new bill, HB 249, is moving through the Idaho legislature that would change the way students participate in sex education.
Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls) has been fighting to pass legislation about sex education for several years now. A previous proposal by Ehardt passed the House and ultimately failed in the Senate.
Here is what the Statement of Purpose says regarding HB 249:
This parental rights legislation will codify the right of parents to opt their minor children into classes where the children will view or discuss materials related to sexuality as defined in this statute. This legislation further clarifies that if the Idaho Code Sections 33-1608 and 33-1609 are adhered to, teachers will not have to obtain parental consent for children to participate in a sex education class dealing strictly with the anatomy and physiology of human reproduction. All other topics that deal with sexuality, as defined, will require parental opt in.
HB 249 would require parents to “opt-in” to sexual education that deals with anything other than learning about human anatomy or physiology. The bill had already passed out of the House Education Committee.
The bill has now passed through the Idaho House on a party-line vote of 56-12 and now heads to the Senate Education Committee for consideration.
Proponents say the bill is designed to help protect children from learning too early about sexuality and sexual orientation. They say that Idaho still holds traditional values about sex.
Opponents of the bill say that both pieces of sexual education are necessary for kids because they are going to learn about it from their peers and it is better that more details come from a teacher and standardized curriculum about sexuality than what their friends at school might teach or the students parents might not teach.
A public hearing in the Idaho Senate has not yet been scheduled.
Do you believe sex education should be “opt-in” or “opt-out” or something else? Let us know in the comments below.