Almost 65 percent of teens in Colorado were not sexually active in the year 2015, according to the Center for Relationship Education.
Parents who believe the school curriculum dealing with sexuality and gender does not comport with their values or beliefs may not be able to opt out, Kraska warned.
The bill explicitly says a school is not required to give written notification to parents “for programming on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or healthy relationships that occurs outside the context of human sexuality instruction.”
“This means that parents likely wouldn’t be notified regarding this type of instruction and would not have the ability to opt their child or children out of this instruction,” Kraska said.
Backers of the bill include Planned Parenthood, the largest U.S. abortion provider and a major distributor of contraceptives, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union. Proponents cited studies saying abstinence-only curricula are “ineffective at best and overtly harmful at worst,” the Colorado Springs Gazette said.
“Given the current make-up of the legislature this bill is likely to pass,” Kraska said.
The proposal’s main sponsors are Sen. Don Coram (R), Sen. Nancy Todd (D), and Rep. Susan Lontine (D). In the 2018 elections, Democrats won all major statewide offices and took control of the State Senate.
The Colorado bill is similar to one passed in California. One parent, Carolina Riofrio of Palo Alto, Calif., told the National Catholic Register in 2017 that a curriculum designed to comply with the California law required students to orally analyze scenarios in order to clarify and reassess their views. Pressure was exerted on students to conform to a morally neutral position in public, and religious values judged to reflect an unacceptable “bias,” were effectively excluded, she said.
Other schools have drawn parental objections for reading children’s books that advocate transgenderism and children undergoing purported gender transitions. A kindergarten teacher at a public charter school in California read such books to her class as a way to introduce a male classmate whose parents said he was undergoing a gender transition to a girl.
The incident reportedly upset several children in the class, several of whom later voiced fears they would turn into the opposite sex. Parents were not informed of the incident until their children told them about it, the Washington Times reported in September 2017.
The Colorado bill proposes to set aside at least $1 million in annual funds for the state’s comprehensive human sexuality education program. It would add eight representatives to the program’s oversight board and require at least seven members to be “members of groups of people who have been or might be discriminated against.”
There is no guarantee this will make the board representative of all citizens, however.
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“I believe that Christians and especially Catholics can make a reasonable and strong argument that they have been discriminated against, but this will likely be an argument that falls on deaf ears,” said Kraska.