Colorado parents have just lost the battle to have access to the sex education curriculum their children will receive in school.
On Monday, the state Senate Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs voted down SB20-072, a bill that would have required schools to notify parents electronically and via a written note before sex-ed is taught to their children. It would also have required school officials to post all material to be used in the sex-ed lectures online for parents to access 90 days ahead of time.
According to The Colorado Times Recorder, the bill, titled the Human Sexuality Education Notification Requirement, was sponsored by state Sen. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and state Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton).
The recorder notes that Gardner “vocally opposes LGBTQ+ rights,” while Larson previously supported an anti-“conversion therapy” bill last year.
During a two-hour hearing, the committee heard testimony from both supporters and opponents of the legislation.
Gardner assured the committee that the bill was “not an attack on human sexuality instruction,” but was simply intended to allow parents to be notified in a timely manner about their child’s upcoming sex-ed classes in order to make an “informed decision” before electing to opt their child out.
According to Gardner, “Parents, especially single parents, parents from families that are working–two incomes, minority parents, parents of students with disabilities…are going be helped tremendously by this bill” as it would make it far easier for them to be aware of what their children will learn in school rather than having to attend meetings or pore over documents.
Michelle Hewitt, a victim advocate who assists young people with recovering from sexual abuse, testified before the committee that sex education is not always appropriate for young abuse survivors:
“[Child survivors of sexual assault] may look tough on the outside, but small things can trigger them towards those same feelings of fear and doubt,” said Hewitt. “Often we know what those triggers will look like[…]Sometimes, however, we will not know what the trigger looks like for a survivor. Please understand I am in favor of appropriate sexual education, and teaching our children about healthy relationships.”
“Why is it that parents don’t have access to sex education?” asked Giuliana Day, a parent in the community testified. “And this is the reason, in my opinion. It is because the sexual education promotes sexual pleasure; forces children to learn about sexual activities; risky sexual practices; abortion; consent to sex.”
Other advocates of the bill highlighted the pro-LGBT content of curriculum, the subjectivity of the term “age-appropriate,” and even the alleged graphic content of videos used in lectures, which was pointed out by committee member Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins).
“If I were to have a child today in public school, if I couldn’t have this information, I’d homeschool,” Marble said during the hearing.
Jennifer Mueller, Counsel at the Colorado Association of School Boards, however, stated that 90 days advance notice was too much for teachers to determine a firm schedule and organize curriculum.
Others argued that Colorado’s existing laws already require such curriculum to be readily available for parents and guardians.
Sen. Hansen seemed to agree with Teter’s and Hinkely’s words. Before the vote, Hansen explained why he would be voting “no.”
“If there are folks who we’ve seen or heard from today who feel like they are not getting the information they need, then let’s address that,” said committee member Sen. Chris Hansen (D-Denver).
“I don’t think we have a statutory shortfall,” Sen. Hansen added. “I think we may have some instances of school boards not being responsible enough.”
Ultimately, the legislation failed to pass the committee by a 2-3 vote.
If you are a Colorado resident, reach out to Sen. Bob Gardner and Rep. Colin Larson and thank them for their valiant effort to empower parents to have a say in their children’s education!
If the situation is as opponents of the bill say and parents do in fact already have access to these materials, take advantage of that right and opt your children out of this perverted “education!”
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