New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill that would have required parents to be notified two weeks prior to subject matter taught in schools dealing with human sexuality or sex education.
The bill had passed both the state House and Senate mostly along party lines.
“By imposing inflexible notice requirements on certain curricula, House Bill 332 would be an impediment to an adaptable learning environment, which is critical to helping our students develop the skills and critical thinking necessary for success in the 21st century economy,” the Democrat governor said in a veto message. “Furthermore, this bill would make it more difficult for young people to receive critical public health education and it could affect a wide range of curricula – including science and the study of important literature, ranging from Mark Twain to Shakespeare.”
Hassan described the parental notification period that would have been required as “over-burdensome” and one that “could lead to schools avoiding material of merit and historical importance because it could potentially elicit objections and even litigation.”
“Additionally and just as troublesome, this bill aims to put in place additional barriers for New Hampshire students who decide to access education about sexual health,” she continued. “House Bill 332 would create an even greater stigma concerning sex education and lead to fewer students having access to important health information, which can have far-reaching, negative impacts on the health of our young people and communities.”
Hassan said New Hampshire law already gives parents the ability to opt their children out of curricula they consider to be objectionable.
Parents supporting the bill, however, say they have a right to be notified about what their children are being taught in school.
In a statement to Breitbart News, New Hampshire state Rep. Victoria Sullivan (R) – who sponsored the legislation – said parents have the right to be notified of specific subject matter regarding human sexuality prior to their children being exposed to it in school.
“There have been very public local incidents where New Hampshire parents would have preferred to have handled particular subject matters in a different manner than an educator did,” Sullivan said. “In these instances, parents found out after the lesson has already been taught, which made for a very difficult and confusing situation for the children involved.”
The representative continued:
This bill would alleviate that kind of conflict between parents and schools, and instead make them partners in education, which should always be the goal we strive for. Instead of seizing the opportunity to partner with parents, Gov. Hassan was threatened by HB332. In her statement she said, “this bill aims to put in place additional barriers for New Hampshire students who decide to access education about sexual health,” but the barriers to which the governor refers to are Granite State parents who, under the 14th Amendment, have the Constitutional right to direct their children’s education.
Sullivan said Hassan’s decision to veto the legislation puts the wishes of “extreme liberal special interest groups” ahead of parents’ involvement in their children’s education.
Similarly, Ann Marie Banfield, education liaison with Cornerstone Action, criticized Hassan’s veto.
“According to Gov. Hassan, New Hampshire parents are now ‘barriers’ in their children’s lives,” she said in a statement to Breitbart News. “The vetoes by Governor Hassan this year are showing her to be one of the most anti-parental rights governors we’ve seen in New Hampshire in a long time.”
In May, Hassan also vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the implementation of the Common Core standards in the state, on the grounds that the measure would have undermined New Hampshire’s ability to maintain an economically competitive workforce.