Colorado Sex Ed Bill Would Erode Parental Rights, Local Control

February 7, 2019

by Shane Vander Hart


There is a comprehensive sex education bill under consideration in the Colorado House of Representatives that would significantly erode the rights of parents in the state.

HB 19-1032, sponsored by State Representative Susan Lontine (D-Denver), State Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora), and State Senator Don Coram (R-Montrose), would prohibit schools that teach human sexuality from providing abstinence-only sex education or teach gender norms.

The bill also prohibits schools from using federal funds that require schools to teach abstinence-only sex education and would also prevent the State Board of Education from granting any exceptions even to charter schools which have a greater amount of autonomy.

The bill’s authors intend for the bill to be a clarification to human sexuality education law passed in 2013.

The bill “clarifies content requirements for public schools that offer comprehensive human sexuality education and prohibits instruction from explicitly or implicitly teaching or endorsing religious ideology or sectarian tenets or doctrines, using shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools, employing gender norms or gender stereotypes, or excluding the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.”

Also, the bill does not require schools that provide human sexuality instruction to discuss pregnancy outcome options, but if they do, they are expected to include abortion, adoption, and parenting as options.

The bill provides for $1 million in the state’s budget for the implementation of comprehensive human sexuality education specifically targeting rural school districts and schoold districts that do not yet provide that instruction.

There are four primary problems with this bill:

1. Comprehensive sex education does not work.

The American College of Pediatricians released an updated statement on School-Based Sex Education in the United States last fall that says comprehensive sex education (CSE) in schools has been a failure.

They say CSE programs in America’s schools have failed to demonstrate long-term effectiveness in delaying sexual activity or increasing long-term condom and contraceptive use among sexually active youth.

The statement authored by Stan Weed, Ph.D.; Irene Erikson, Ph.D.; Russell Gombosi, MD; and Michelle Cretella, MD notes the alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases based on data released in 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States in 2017, exceeding the previous year’s record high by over 200,000 cases. Comparing data from 2013 to that from 2017, the CDC found chlamydia remained the most common STD, and that 45 percent of the over 1.7 million cases were among 15- to 24-year-old females. Gonorrhea has risen 67 percent over that same time period, and the number of strains resistant to antibiotics is growing rapidly. Similarly, the diagnosis of primary and secondary syphilis, which are the most infectious stages of the disease, increased 76 percent. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) made up almost 70 percent of those cases.

They note one of the reasons CSE fails is due to the fact it doesn’t target students already involved in risky behavior. They write:

The school-based SRR (CSE) model targets the general teen population, rather than focusing on an individual intervention for those who are actually engaged in the risk behavior. This is a significant difference from the typical risk reduction model. The sexual risk reduction approach should focus on adolescents in school who are already sexually active, but instead is applied to the broader teen population. This sends the false message that “everyone is doing it”, which has the negative effect of normalizing teen sex as an expected standard for all students.

They also note, “The school-based SRR (CSE) model does not seek to move individuals who are engaged in sexual activity toward a renewed risk avoidance (abstinent) behavioral choice, as is true for other risk behavior programs.”

2. It places LGBT ideology ahead of biology.

The bill requires schools to teach ideology over empirical biological science. There is no clear definition of what qualifies as “shame-based” language or “gender stereotypes.” The bill prohibits normal biology and compels transgender ideology.

HB 19-1032 claims to exclude endorsing a particular religious tenet. That is not the case, as the requirement to coercively include “the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals” compels public schools to teach LGBT ideology.

The language found in this bill, as well as within SOGI laws nationwide, is used to ban disagreement or discussion on LGBT issues.

This bill effectively codifies SOGI language into the state’s human sexuality education program.

3. It offers weak parental opt-out and notification provisions.

HB 19-1032 does offer a parental opt-out. It states that parents must provide to the school, in writing, their intent to not to have their student participate.

It should offer an opt-in feature instead.

The bill requires schools to notify parents with a “detailed, substantive outline of the topics and materials to be presented during human sexuality instruction.”

However, it is made clear that nothing within the bill requires written notification on “gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or healthy relationships” if it happens outside of human sexuality instruction.

4. It erodes local control.

Public school districts have elected school boards and charter schools have boards of directors whose task it is to direct and approve of curriculum that their schools use.

Those are the people who are closest to the students and the most accountable to parents, and HB 19-1032 takes that decision out of their hands and says the state and its educrats know best.

It also prohibits the state board of education, with whom the Colorado Constitution vests the “general supervision of the public schools of the state,” from providing waivers and exemptions.

The Colorado Constitution also states that local school boards “shall have control of instruction in the public schools of their respective districts.”

HB 19-1032 is an unconstitutional attempt by the state to take control of instruction.


Shane Vander Hart, an Iowa native, is the online communications manager for the American Principles Project and a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com. Shane is also the Editor-in-Chief for CaffeinatedThoughts.com, a popular Christian conservative blog.

Archive: Shane Vander Hart

11 comments on “Colorado Sex Ed Bill Would Erode Parental Rights, Local Control”

  • Hopeful says:

    A Bigot is one who is intolerant of the position of others. It’s pretty clear from the comments that intolerance and hatred is not limited to one side of the aisle. Hatred automatically disqualifies a Christian from being
    Called Christian – we are commanded to love our enemies and pray for them. But that love is not equivalent to being a doormat. As Christians, we expect to be persecuted, it’s nothing new, and it will not convince us to give up the beliefs that are daily being proved in science, in archeology, and in historical documents for anyone willing to look. We must obey God rather than men. I pray for the readership of this article on either side of the debate- I pray that you will seek truth without prejudice and that it will find you. That you will see the immense value of every person no matter their errors or weaknesses, and that we could build a society based at least on respect if unity is beyond our grasp.

    • jk105 says:

      A Bigot is one who is intolerant of the position of others. I take it that you are tolerant of Nazis too?

      As a Christian I thank the God who made me gay! I pray for the bigots (like the author of this hateful editorial) who have contempt for Jesus’s commandment to love all God’s children–which would include His gay children. I pray for your deformed soul.

    • jui says:

      Right wing religionists demean and persecute gay Christians. No one should have to silently tolerate this intolerable bigotry. Yes, we gay Christians won’t be doormats, we won’t allow you to persecute us any longer. If, as you say, hatred automatically disqualifies some one from being a Christian, then Shane is no Christian. I suggest that you too look in the mirror. Do seek truth. God did not create His gay children to be your silent punching bags.

    • david says:

      According to Hopeful’s logic, it is bigotry if a Jew speaks out against Nazism. It is bigotry if blacks condemn the Klan. Or is it only gay people who have to endure hate?

      Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
      especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

      ,
      No gay person commented here that heterosexual religious conservatives deserve less rights than gay Christians. That is a figment of your imagination.

      Vander Hart has in the past advocated to use the brute force of government to deny Christian Churches the right to perform legal same-sex marriages. Gays don’t propose to ban heterosexual marriage. Pence’s wife teaches at a school that bans gay kids. Gays don’t advocate banning heterosexual kids from schools. Relgious right wingers shun gay people from public accommodations.

      The bigotry is one-sided. Gay Christians have a duty to speak out against this abuse. That is the truth!

    • kaysha says:

      Clearly Hopeful gets upset when fellow Christians condemn homophobic bigotry. First understand, I love the sinner, but it is the sin of homophobic bigotry than I criticize. Furthermore, if you don’t like getting called a bigot, I suggest you be more discrete about your immoral bigotry. Problem solved.

    • EileenK says:

      Hopeful, you say: ” that we could build a society based at least on respect if unity is beyond our grasp.”

      The Southern Baptists (finally) did that when its body formally apologized for its role in giving right wing religious support for slavery and then Jim Crow segregation. I have great faith that the same will happen in the future when churches apologize for its immoral hurtful, harmful and hateful treatment of our LGBT brothers and sisters. Hopeful, you can start “building a society based on respect” by being honest. The bigotry is rooted in one side, not two. There is no reason LGBT brothers and sisters should quietly suffer while heterosexuals demean their God-given humanity. Morality is a good reason to examine one’s anti-gay prejudice. I encourage you to start.

  • Holly says:

    Thank you for this. Even though we already homeschool and will continue to do so, we want to stay informed of what is happening in the school culture around us. These children are our child’s peers and we want to be aware of the kind of ideology that is shaping them.

    • Jk105 says:

      And decent citizens want to be aware of what ideology you home school your children with. After all God’s gay children will share the community with your kids. Do you indoctrinate them with an ideology that promotes bigoted hate?

  • jui says:

    Pence’s wife teaches at a school that treats gay children with hateful contempt. Clearly Shane Vander Hart supports this depravity and thus is free to exercise his parental rights by sending his offspring into such pits of hell. It is sad that he doesn’t support parental rights in the many cases where mothers and fathers want thier gay children to be taught in supportive environments. Yes, many parents want their kids to be treated with common human decency. That’s an “ideology” this Christian endorses!

  • kaysha says:

    Parental rights?
    Vander Hart would promiscuously allow bigots in schools to violate the rights of parents who demand that their LGBT children be treated with dignity and respect. This editorial is dishonest.

  • jk105 says:

    compels public schools to teach LGBT ideology…

    Of course Shane Old Boy does not define “LGBT ideology. I assume it means that bigots can’t condemn and mistreat LGBT children in the school system. Too bad.

    What a disgusting bigot! If you want to hate God’s gay children, send your children to a private school that molests to minds of LGBT kids. Keep your hands and hate off everyone else’s children.

    I pray for Shane’s deformed soul.

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