Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol on Sunday, Sept 22 to speak out against the mandated Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) curriculum that is being proposed by some Minnesota legislators and applauded by Planned Parenthood at the “Protect Kids Rally.”

The organizers of the rally used the peaceful demonstration to forewarn legislators and the public of a sex ed curriculum that would likely follow in the steps of California, with the bills’ language allowing such a path. And these groups, Minnesota Advocates and Champions for Children and Minnesota Child Protection League Action, along with others have expressed concerns about this legislation since its inception.

This spring, the Los Angeles Times wrote an article on California’s new curriculum mentioning concerns over suggested curricula with graphic and explicit language and visuals, citing protestors’ concerns of “pornography” and being “too much too soon.”

The CSE curriculum passed the DFL controlled Minnesota House last year but was stalled in the Republican controlled Senate. Objectors of the curriculum expect to see CSE resurface again this legislative year.

Attending the rally on Sunday was Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton) who commented to the Messenger, “We’re here to keep speaking out against attacking families and our kids in schools. We need to strengthen families and keep sensitive issues under parental jurisdiction and with people they trust.” He added that he was made aware that supporters of this bill are likely to push it again in 2020.

Also in attendance was Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) who stated, “I have been a strong opponent of this bill when it was debated in the education committee and spoke against it repeatedly and on the house floor. It’s damaging to children’s minds and takes away control from parents; it’s not age appropriate. The proposed legislation is not only very harmful to our children but also sends the wrong message to our children in that they are supposed to question their sex/gender identity. Take a look at HF1414 as introduced and then as amended and you will discover what I and others argued against in committee and on the House floor. It breaks my heart that some colleagues think this is what our children should be taught about their bodies.”

As a parent, I am concerned about this legislation. To me, it’s nothing to do with right or left, but more to do with what’s right or wrong. The CSE curriculum is not the same sex ed that those of us who grew up in the public schools remember. It’s much more ominous and corrosive to the minds of our young people with the possibility of even reaching down into kindergarten, according to the bills’ language.

Last year’s bills were House Floor (HF) 1414 and Senate Floor (SF) 2065 and can be found on https://www.leg.state.mn.us/.

This bill is heavy handed and leaves no freedom for school districts to use their current sex ed curriculum or create one that’s more in line with its constituents.

An excerpt from SF 2065 titled “Sexual Health Education” states that the commissioner of education must, in consultation with the commissioner of health and other qualified experts, choose a curriculum and hand it down to the school districts. The curriculum comes with “written materials, curriculum resources, and training for instructors.” The bill’s language states that the curriculum must provide instruction on human anatomy, reproduction, and sexual development; consent, bodily autonomy, and healthy relationships, including relationships involving diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

The bill goes on to encourage or expect sexual activity is going to take place stating “’Consent’ as used in this section means “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in interpersonal, physical, or sexual activity.”

Not only does this bill overstep the bounds of what many believe is appropriate to teach our children, it oversteps and undermines the local control of curricula by our school boards by creating strict parameters with specific language about what must be taught and with the likelihood of being another unfunded mandate.

If the school does not choose to implement a program according to these guidelines, it must submit its own sexual education curriculum which must be approved by the commissioner of education in a subjective manner stating the school “must report which program it selected to the commissioner, in the form and manner determined by the commissioner” or the school will be placed on a “list of school districts” who did not comply.

This bill not only potentially sexualizes our children but undermines local control in an authoritative, big government manner. It also allows non-licensed instructors to come into the school if they are a “community organization that the school administration (not school board) determines has the necessary content expertise.”

Sen. Mathews added that people who do not agree with this legislation should keep pressure on their elected legislators, school boards and local officials. “My door is always open if people want to come and present their side, for or against the bill. But I’m committed to being a staunch advocate for our children’s safety and family rights,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times article can be found at https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-sex-education-california-20190510-story.html.

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