This legislative session, Catholics have an opportunity to strengthen the parental rights and engagement of the sexual health education of children.
The Transparency and Accountability of Youth Instructional Materials Act, (Morell – R, Rancho Cucamonga) would enable greater parental rights, responsibilities, and supervision of the sexual health and HIV education in all grades by requiring districts to place such content and material online for easy review.
SB 673 also supports parent engagement by providing them with an active opt-in responsibility for elementary-age children (TK-6th) to participate in sexual health education. Such oversight is important for our youngest, most vulnerable children who require this increased parental “supervision” due to their age and the complexities of the content and materials.
“Currently, parents only have the right to go to district offices and examine all materials,” said California Catholic Conference Executive Director Andrew Rivas. “Making these same materials available online is especially important for busy working families to be able to review curriculum.”
In addition, SB 673 would also increase protections for children in grades TK-6 by closing a “loophole” in the current law, under the California Healthy Youth Act. This would ensure all curriculum is “medically accurate and age-appropriate.”
“As Catholics, we view parents as the first and foremost educators of their children, and schools – Catholic and non-Catholic – as partners in the educational process. Thus, the Church counsels us to work with public authorities to ensure and protect parental rights,” said Rivas.
Current California law on sexual health education states that it is the intent of the Legislature to respect the rights of parents and guardians to supervise their children’s education on the subject of human sexuality. The Legislature also recognizes parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children. (Ed. Code §51937).
An Action Alert on SB 673 will be hitting e-mail boxes on Monday for Network members whose State Senator serves on the Senate Education Committee where the bill will be heard on Wednesday. Please use the alert to let your Senator know you support this bill. If your Senator does not serve on the Committee, you can write the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Connie Leyva, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to copy and paste the following messages to send to Senator Leyva in support of the bill:
I support SB 673 (Morrell), The Transparency and Accountability of Youth Instructional Materials Act, because it is a simple and straightforward way to strengthen parents’ rights and responsibilities to be actively engaged in the sexual health education of their children.