By B. Hamilton
On Thursday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, in a party line vote, approved HB 2035, legislation that will strengthen parental input in the Sex Education curriculum offered to their children. A previous version of the bill, SB 1456, passed this year, but was vetoed by Governor Doug Ducey.
According to Sen. Nancy Barto, sponsor of SB 1456, the issues brought forth in the governor’s veto formed the basis of the new version, sponsored by Rep. Gail Griffin. Griffin’s bill was turned into what is known as a “striker” or “strike-all-amendment” in order to attached the modified language of SB 1456.
HB 2305 “restricts sex education instruction for pupils in kindergarten through grade 4. Modifies requirements relating to sex education instruction, including curricula approval and parental permission and notification procedures.” In keeping with the governor’s recommendation, the specifies that age and grade appropriate classroom instruction on child assault awareness and abuse prevention is not prohibited.
The bill does not prohibit or dictate any curriculum in grades 5-12; it “merely ensures that parents may opt their children into instruction on human sexuality,” according to supporters.
On April 20, 2021, the Governor issued an Executive Order related to sex education, which among other matters, requires a public review process to select sex education curricula, directs schools to make any approved sex education curricula available online and in-person and allows parents to review the materials before opting their child in to sex education courses, according to the legislative record.