Alaska parents have legal right to opt children out of sex ed

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By DAVID BOYLE

The Alaska Legislature in 2016 passed House Bill 156, legislation empowering parents to direct the education of their children. Former Rep. Wes Keller sponsored the bill, which was carried by Sen. Mike Dunleavy in the Senate.  

The bill required schools to notify parents not less than two weeks before involving children in any activity, class, or program that includes content pertaining to human reproduction or sexual matters.

 As the woke culture has begun to infiltrate education, there are more subjects that parents have a right to be informed of based on this bill. 

Not only are you to be notified two weeks before your child participates in a sex education class, but this law would also apply to any discussions in the classroom concerning gender identity, sexual orientation, or different pronouns being used to describe each other.  

School boards also must allow parents the opportunity to review the content of an activity, class, performance standard, or program and be given the opportunity to opt their child out of the course should they so choose to do so. 

 Schools must provide curricula for parental review.  This is to better inform you as to what is being taught to your child. 

Additionally, parents can withdraw their child from any activity, class, or program.  For example, if a parent objects to their child being indoctrinated from a socialist point of view in a social studies class, they can opt their student out of that part of the class.

There is one limitation:  Parents must object each time the parent wants to keep their child from an activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment/test required by the State. 

School boards are directed to implement these policies in their districts. Parents may wish to question their school boards to determine if these policies have been put in place. If so, have these policies been communicated to all parents? Do these policies cover all the newest issues being discussed that involve sexual activity? 

Many times, bureaucracies will fulfill the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.  In this case, school districts may implement policies to follow the law yet keep their real curricula hidden from the public.

The intent of this law is to help parents get engaged in their child’s education and require the schools to inform parents of their rights to participate in their child’s education.

As time has passed, many parents and schools themselves have forgotten about parental rights in education. Now you know how you can exercise your parental rights and responsibilities for your child’s development and education.  

David Boye is former executive director of Alaska Policy Forum and is Must Read Alaska’s education writer.

11 COMMENTS

  1. David, homeschool is the only viable answer to this. The peer pressure put on kids whose parents opt them out is seriously traumatic and can lead to life-long mental health issues. Teachers will treat children whose parents opted them out differently in both grading and class participation, and will subject those kids to public shaming. The parents will be subjected to peer pressure also. Public schools – no matter how good or bad – aim to produce a uniform product, deviations not tolerated.

    • My perspective as well. It is hard enough for kids being pulled out for various issues such as dyslexia etc. The woke stuff is so permeated through our culture and such a divisive topic it could cause a host of problems for students and families trying to opt out. I doubt there would be much grace and mercy from the ‘woke’.

  2. AS §14.03.016 – A parent’s right to direct the education of the parent’s child

    Suzanne, there appears to be a rather large oversight with this statute.

    You might consider raising this issue further with some members of the legislature.

    This law might list requirements for compliance, but without penalties and enforcement codified it’s just another piece of hollow legislation enacted into law to be ignored.

    I see no penalties or enforcement sections under this statute or directly referenced. Where are fines and criminal penalties listed for various offenses? Did someone not intend to actually fine and prosecute violations by administrators and educators that may circumvent the law ?

    This law as written in many respects is no different than election integrity bills passed in many states that are simply for show. Hopefully Senator Shower includes some teeth in his election integrity bill and does not go down a similar path as this law.

  3. Occasionally a few decent people make it into politics. Even rarer, a noble idea from such decent people, makes its way through a morass of corruption and cowardice, to become law. This is one such case.

  4. So with over five years on the books how effective has the law been, other than a virtue signal for Dunleavy? Anyway learning how to put a condom on a banana is great vocational training.

  5. A PARENT is a child’s FIRST teacher! A PARENT pays the wages of a school teacher…that makes a PARENT the BOSS! If a school teacher doesn’t want to abide by a parent’s wishes of what is not needed to teach their child…FIRE THEM!!

  6. China has thrown mega amounts of dollars at programs to slowly change the USA education system from kindergarten to major universities and many in Washington don’t care as long as they receive some moola, this is where corruption begins, remember Swalwell and fang-fang and how Pelosi and others covered it up? It’s shameful and disgusting what Washington has turned into, an oligarchy with zero regard for the constitution.

  7. Do not forget Title 14 that gives parents complete autonomy to educate their children at home with zero involvement from the state. The myriad of wonderful public money program choices, including charter schools, grew out of this state statute and even if one does not home educate the home school protection gives them power and a voice, as they have a choice to freely remove from the system if they so desire. The state department of education knows this but is not highly motivated to share this information. Many school board members and local administrators also know this but a few do not. Either way know that with the law David Boyle has written about above along with the autonomy given by Title 14 parents do hold the cards. Use them!

  8. Honestly I thought this law was a lot older than that…unless the old one was repealed. When my kids were in school back in the 80s, parents were always notified of an upcoming sex education talk, and could opt their child out if they so desired. Children could NOT attend the session without parental permission. What happened to that?

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