On Wednesday, a slim majority of Arizona lawmakers approved legislation that requires schools to have parents’ written consent before teaching sex education to students. The bill, SB1456, allows parents to opt their children into Sex Education classes.
Previously parents were only allowed to opt their children out of Sex Education classes.
The Arizona House passed SB 1456, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, along party lines – all 31 Republicans voted in favor of parental rights, 28 Democrats voted against parental rights, and one Democrat was absent and did not vote.
SB 1456 prohibits sex education before fifth-grade in Arizona district and charter schools. It also requires schools provide the Sex Ed curricula for grades 5-12 for parental review. Parents would then have to opt-in their child for Sex Ed if they so choose. It would also require parental opt-in for instruction about HIV, AIDS, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The battle for authority over who will teach sex education and when got heated as some lawmakers argued for government control and voted against transparency of curriculum.
That prompted Representative Jacqueline Parker to ask, “Why is everyone so afraid of parents being aware of what their children are being taught?”
Proponents of the bill say parents won because SB 1456 acknowledges parents have the fundamental right to control what, when, and how their children will learn about human sexuality.
The Arizona School Board Association condemned the bill’s passage as an effort to “undermine the authority of school boards. However, nothing in the bill prohibits school boards from approving curriculum. It merely sets a grade-level requirement and provides parents with an opportunity to exercise their authority over their own children.
ASBA opposes SB1456 as a tremendous overreach into the school board's authority to establish curriculum it deems appropriate for the school community and urges Gov. Ducey to veto this bill. Read our full statement below. ⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/VCOCNX90Fh
— azsba (@AzSBA) April 15, 2021