Bill restricting sex ed moved forward by Kansas House panel

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Debate in the Kansas House over requiring public schools to get parents’ consent to teach sex education is likely to be tense, just as it was before a committee approved the measure, the panel’s chairman said Friday.

Several Kansas school districts already require written parental consent to include students in sex education lessons, while others allow parents to request their children be excluded from such instruction. The bill’s supporters say that’s not enough because parents are often ill-informed about what the curriculums include.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bridges, a former public school principal, noted earlier this week that parents can already access school curriculums and can petition their school board if they disagree with what is being taught. Bridges, of Wichita, said schools need to step in because not all parents will discuss sexual health issues with their children.

But supporters won out Thursday, when the House Education Committee approved the bill by a 10-8 vote. The bill now goes to the full House, where the committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Ron Highland of Wamego, expects debate to be similarly tense. He said members of the committee were narrowly divided and their discussions heated.

“Those associated with the school system don’t want any legislative involvement at all, so they’re very passionate about that. And then, you’ve got the others who are trying to represent the family members that are coming to them and complaining, and so they become very passionate,” Highland said.



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