Senate Enrolled Act 65 takes effect July 1 and requires schools to seek written consent from a parent or guardian before providing lessons on human sexuality. Parents can consent or refuse permission. If they haven’t responded after attempts to reach them, children will receive the lessons.
The new bill requires each school corporation to make available (to a parent of a student) instructional material used in connection with human sexuality education. This bill provides that, before the school can issue a student instruction on human sexuality, that school must provide the parent of the student — or the student, if the student is an adult or an emancipated minor — with a written request for consent of instruction.
According to The State House File, Indiana law requires that schools teach abstinence-only sex education, preventing teachers from giving students any details about birth control, condoms or sexually-transmitted diseases.
State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, who is the author of the bill, said the bill should ensure that teachers are only teaching what is written into the curriculum.
“Our state standards of human sexuality are very good in Indiana but we have teachers who are going beyond the standards and are getting into what I call more sensual, more nitty-gritty stuff, almost to the area of pornography,” said Kruse. “We thought ‘wow this is creeping in now’ so we better do something so that it doesn’t take over the curriculum.”
“That’s not happening, so if you don’t teach about it the students won’t know about it,” said Hixson-Kahl, sex education teacher in Edinburgh schools for 37 years. “Therefore, there’s going to be more STDs, more unwanted pregnancies and I do believe sex education makes a difference. The number of STDs and the number of pregnancies are the two main features that sex education needs to work on. Actual sex education.”
“I think in the younger ages possibly; I don’t think it is necessary in high school [to have a written consent],” Hixson-Kahl added. “I think parents are a little blind to the fact of what their children already know and, personally if I had ever been a parent, I would rather they learn it officially than in the streets.”
One of the problems about the new law is that the students who won’t have a signed permission slip are very likely the kids who most need to take a sex ed class. On the other side, learning about sex without mentioning birth control, condoms or sexually-transmitted diseases, is similar to religious preaching without answering specific questions.
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