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Montana House backs parental OK before sex education

2013-02-06T19:17:00Z 2013-02-07T10:28:11Z Montana House backs parental OK before sex educationThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 06, 2013 7:17 pm  • 

The House on Wednesday backed a proposal to require parental permission before students can attend sex education classes in schools, a measure supporters said is necessary to deal with an increasingly controversial curriculum.

Social conservatives are trying again to place limits on local sex education policies they believe are teaching bad morals. A similar bill cleared the Legislature in 2011, only to be vetoed by former Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Supporters pointed to a debate over sex education in Helena that led to packed public meetings and ongoing strife between some parents and school officials. House Bill 239 would also ban any organization that provides abortion services from assisting with sex education in schools.

“It simply allows me as the mother to choose how my child is taught about sex education,” said state Rep. Liz Bangerter, R-Helena. “This bill is a mother’s dream bill. Please vote yes.”

The House endorsed the measure 54-43 on an initial vote. It faces another final vote before going to the Senate. Democrats were joined by a few Republicans in opposing the measure.

Opponents said parents currently can opt not to let their children participate in sex education. They argued the proposed law is more burdensome by requiring opt-in permission, and won’t be returned by inattentive parents and their students who might most need the education.

“When people don’t get the proper information, we see things like high school kids getting syphilis, getting gonorrhea, and they are getting pregnant when they are 14,” said Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula. “We want to make sure these high school kids are getting that information from the people who know it. And that is a good thing.”

There have been fewer bills dealing with social issues compared with past sessions, but conservatives are making this particular measure a priority. They argued that parents are always supportive of more information, pointing to overwhelming approval of the November ballot initiative requiring parental consent for teen abortions.

Supporters of the bill said they believe sex education is straying into moral instruction and away from straight information on biology, physiology and anatomy they would prefer.

“Every parent in Montana should have a say in what their child is taught,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Austin Knudsen, a Culbertson attorney.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. JMWB
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    JMWB - April 18, 2013 1:52 pm
    Apparently the Puritans are alive and well.
  2. JMWB
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    JMWB - April 18, 2013 1:50 pm
    SexEd has nothing to do with morality.
  3. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - February 09, 2013 12:25 pm
    I have nothing backwards. Your posts are inconsistant, almost like there are a couple people posting. You want government control and then on the next topic you don't want it.
  4. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - February 08, 2013 3:51 pm
    No, you have it backwards. Morals are the job of the parents and the churches. And I don't especially want my children indoctrinated with the morals of a faith I don't agree with, TYVM.
  5. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - February 08, 2013 11:18 am
    The only people that are ignorant are the ones that want their children taught morals by other people. Leave the facts to the parents.
  6. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - February 08, 2013 11:17 am
    It is not the schools place to teach these morals.
  7. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - February 08, 2013 11:16 am
    Right and that 90% is fact? Not even close. I know tons of parents and we all have taught our children very well. I really don't care what you were like. It has no bearing in how I raise my children. That is a good parent.
  8. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - February 07, 2013 1:41 pm
    It benefits society at large to educate our youth regarding matters of biology. Some parents willfully try and keep their children ignorant, but this tends to result in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, which end up being paid for with public dollars. I see no problem with presenting a fact-based biology curriculum to all students. The parents are responsible for instilling the values. The schools should probably provide the facts, as a lot of peoples' grasp of facts is a little muzzy.
  9. JMWB
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    JMWB - February 07, 2013 12:30 pm
    Where I went to school in the mid 70s, sex ed was mandatory, included instruction about STDs and birth control, and parents weren't given the option of opting out. What's the big deal? Anyone who is online knows there is lots of x rated stuff out there; would that be a better choice?

    At a disgusting 38%, MT already has one of the highest out of wedlock birthrates in the US. Most of the young women end up on public assistance. I'm getting sick and tired of seeing my tax dollars going to support this travesty. And since it takes two to tango, young men ought to held WAY more responsible for their effort in creating out of wedlock births. IMHO sex ed, parenting classes and personal finance should be mandatory.
  10. AntiXenophobia
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    AntiXenophobia - February 07, 2013 11:30 am
    This issue always cracks me up. Parents getting all high and mighty about wanting input on what their kids learn about sex, yet 90% of parents don't teach anything to their kids about sex other than admonishing them to not have sex or the ambiguous "be careful". I remember way back when I was in high school, we took a straw poll among my friends and none of our parents ever gave us a meaningful talk about sex. I got the "you know about condoms, right? Good, use them." That was pretty much the norm amongst my friends. I guarantee that is still pretty much the norm (there were also parents who just said to not have sex until they were adults, of course). In the end, very few of us followed any of the "advice" we got. I also knew a couple girls who got pregnant and had abortions in high school. For a bit of context, my and my friends were all in the honors classes, not generally troublemakers.
  11. steeline
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    steeline - February 07, 2013 10:07 am
    One issue that needs to be addressed is who will be teaching the sex ed courses. Will that person require a special degree in social behavior on the subject. Will the School Board have to approve the course subject matter and teaching aids that will be used. Will there be background checks to assure that the teacher is clear of any devient behavior during their life or arrests for sex crimes? If I were a parent that was considering allowing my child to have a stranger teach them about sex I would, at the very least, want to see all the information on the teacherand course before I would even give it a thought. A better idea would be to have the schools develope a sex ed class for parents. Have the class available to all parents. That way the parents can teach their own kids about sex and the moral issues that go along with it. Sex education in schools is to much like social engineering and must not happen.
  12. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - February 07, 2013 9:41 am
    I agree that parents should have the final say. I hate sex ed with a hidden agenda.
  13. GDIZLV
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    GDIZLV - February 07, 2013 9:37 am
    House Bill 239 needs to be passed. Requiring opt-in permission is the only way that everyone will have a fair chance to choose what their child is learning.

    Our daughter started kindergarten this year and we went in the first week of school to discuss with the teacher what and when the health curriculum information would be taught. We were shocked to find that not only had it already been done (on the first day of school) but we were given NO notice to opt out. We were also told that throughout the year someone comes to the class to “share” the rest of the information that will be taught but that they don’t necessarily know when or what days etc.

    Thankfully this particular teacher was very broad in her discussion with the children in such a way that we had no problem with what our daughter was told. However, this may not have been the case and we were NOT given the chance to opt out. This is not right.
  14. justme59601
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    justme59601 - February 07, 2013 8:10 am
    the Ds are going to be foaming at the mouth over this one again. i wonder if bullock will borrow BS's veto branding iron LOL

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