HB 103, School District Policy on Objectionable Course Material (2017)

Testimony delivered by Ann Marie Banfield, Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action.

I am a volunteer for Cornerstone where I focus on academic excellence, literacy and parental rights.

I come here today in support of HB 103.  HB 103 is a parental rights bill that supports local control in education.  What is more supportive of local control than making sure parents are fully informed when sensitive subjects like sex education are being taught to their children?

This legislation does not prohibit sex education from being taught.  It does not hinder a teacher or school when choosing the materials or curriculum.  This simply adds a layer of transparency for parents when a school district covers sex education.

Parents want to feel like they are part of their child’s education.  This allows parents to check what will be taught, have conversations with their children, and in some cases, remove their child from the lesson if the material is not yet appropriate for them.  What may be appropriate for one child at 11, may be suitable for another child at 13 or 14.

Some schools and teachers already respect the role of the parents.  However, this adds transparency for those who are not fully informing parents, and builds trust with school officials.  There is nothing worse for some parents than to find out something has been taught without their knowledge when they believe the material should have been taught at a later time.

When my daughter was in 6th grade, her teacher sent home a note to all parents to look over the chapter in the science book on reproduction.  While this wasn’t sex education, she was kind enough to let parents know the biology that would be taught to their children.   This was a thoughtful and respectful way to inform parents, in case they wanted to expand the subject.  The teacher didn’t find it burdensome, and instead, built trust and respect among the parents.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all schools and teachers took that approach?  This is too controversial a subject to leave parents out of the loop.  HB 103 supports local control in education, and builds trust by supporting communication between the school and parents.  For these reasons I ask you to vote “ought to pass” on HB 103.  Thank you.