Sex ed: HB 156 protects parents’ rights


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Governor Bill Walker made what for his partisan administration is a painful decision today. But he made the right decision, even following the No Action Plan that he accuses the Legislature of doing.

He allowed to go into law without his signature a bill that prevents groups like Planned Parenthood from being allowed to control school curriculum without the prior knowledge and approval of the local school board.

HB 156 is: “An Act relating to a parent’s right to direct the education of a child; relating to the duties of the state Board of Education and Early Development, the Department of Education and Early Development, school boards, and school districts; relating to public school curriculum and assessments; relating to compliance with federal education laws; relating to public school accountability; relating to a statewide assessment plan and review of education laws and regulations; repealing the minimum expenditure for instruction for school districts: relating to sex education, human reproduction education, and human sexuality education; relating to suicide awareness and prevention training; relating to contracts for student assessments; relating to questionnaires and surveys administered in public schools; relating to physical examinations for teachers.”

This bill catapults Alaska to the forefront of the parental rights movement in this country, said Sen. Mike Dunleavy. Parents can now remove their children from classrooms if they object to the specific curriculum being taught — and that is an important right, unless you want to relinquish all your authority as a parent and put your trust in Planned Parenthood.

The teaching of sexual content allows the public education system to develop a child’s attitudes, values, norms, and beliefs about sexuality. For many parents, that’s something they don’t want Planned Parenthood anywhere near.

HB 156 is a significant bill. Its sponsors, including Reps. Wes Keller, Lynn Gattis, Tammie Wilson, Lora Reinbold, and Sens. Mike Dunleavy and Peter Micciche, get the credit for fighting for parents’ rights, not the rights of a special interest group.

Planned Parenthood will probably sue, but the group has no real grounds. The new law simply requires that the organization — and other organizations — enter the school curriculum through the front door, in the light of day and with the guidance of locally elected school board members, rather than having health teachers kick open the back door and allow this controversial group — or any other special interest group — to take over their classroom for hours at a time.

Although Gov. Walker weaseled out of signing the bill, at least he did not block it. We need to give him credit for protecting parents, even while his progressive loyalists shrieked in opposition.