A slim majority of Arizona lawmakers today affirmed a parent’s fundamental right to educate and guide the upbringing of their own children. The Arizona House passed SB 1456, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, along party lines – all 31 Republicans voted in favor of parental rights, 28 Democrats voted against parental rights, and one Democrat was absent and did not vote.
The battle for authority over who will teach sex education and when got heated as some lawmakers argued for government control and voted against transparency of curriculum. That prompted Representative Jacqueline Parker to ask, “Why is everyone so afraid of parents being aware of what their children are being taught?”
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In the end, parents won because SB 1456 acknowledges parents have the fundamental right to control what, when, and how their children will learn about human sexuality – not the culture or the government.
SB 1456 prohibits sex education before fifth-grade in Arizona district and charter schools. It also requires schools provide the sex ed curricula for grades 5-12 for parental review. Parents would then have to opt-in their child for sex ed if they so choose. It would also require parental opt-in for instruction about HIV, AIDS, sexual orientation and gender identity. Requiring parents to opt-in rather than opt-out better protects students from inadvertent sex ed or sensitive curriculum parents do not want their children exposed to at school.
I applaud the sponsor, Senator Nancy Barto, and all AZ lawmakers who voted in favor of parents and children and got this bill to Governor Ducey’s desk.
ACTION: Contact Governor Ducey and politely ask him to sign SB 1456! Send him an email here or call his office at (602) 542-4331.