The Republican National Committee (RNC) approved a resolution that would require parents to consent to their children’s participation in public school sex ed curricula only through an “opt in” process rather than one that invites parents to “opt out.”
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, which released a press statement about the resolution, said:
This resolution approved by the Republican National Committee protects children from harmful and often illegal human sexuality content in the public schools. Parents deserve the right to know what their children are being taught and an opportunity to consent to it. The fact that the Republican Party has formally supported an ‘opt-in’ process over a flawed and meaningless ‘opt-out’ system should be applauded.
As Liberty Counsel notes, though many state laws and local school policies often require parents to be notified about sex ed curricula and then, if desired, request their child be exempted from participation, the policies are often not carried out as written:
[T]hese policies have been manipulated in many cases as districts do not always provide a complete description of the materials, make access difficult, and include the “opt out” forms with the flood of other permission slips and forms that parents have to fill out at the beginning of the school year. As a result, parents do not have effective notice of what their children will be exposed to or chance to opt them out. The “opt out” laws are also usually limited to “human sexuality instruction” or “sex ed” and do not cover other subjects in which the materials would be offered.
Cynthia Dunbar, the RNC member for Virginia, drafted the resolution – that was approved unanimously – and that seeks to also repeal obscenity exemptions.
“[P]arents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children,” the resolution states. “Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing.”
“[E]ducation is much more than schooling,” it continues. “Education is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a cultural identity.”
The RNC approved the resolution “that public schools must disclose the content contained within human sexuality instruction to the parents and/or guardians of all unemancipated students and shall only enroll those students whose parents and/or guardians provide prior written permission to opt their student into human sexuality instruction.”