Local school districts and individual schools in Colorado are refusing to implement the state’s sex ed law that mandates teaching about LGBTQ relationships and abortion, claiming the law is “unconstitutional.”
A report at the Denver Post highlights that while many in these schools may object to the content of Colorado’s mandated sex ed curriculum, their opposition to the law is actually based on its violation of the principle of local control of education as set forth in the state’s Constitution.
“We’re tired of the state telling us — mandating — what we teach our kids,” said Mark Pfoff, a school board member at Lewis-Palmer School District 38 in Monument, reported the Post.
Colorado’s new law does not mandate sex education as a graduation requirement, but if schools decide to offer sex ed they are now required to provide content that includes LGBTQ relationships and abortion as a possible pregnancy outcome.
Pfoff said his district’s program teaches about consent and healthy relationships.
“We don’t teach male, female,” he added. “We teach health[y] relationships.”
His school district passed a resolution in late August that calls upon the Colorado Association of School Boards to “fully investigate a constitutional challenge” to the sex ed law [House Bill 19-1032] and to contact “every school district within Colorado to explore legal action against the state of Colorado concerning this violation of the Colorado state Constitution.”
“[T]he Colorado State Constitution,” the resolution asserts, “which was established in 1876, states that local school boards elected by their electors, ‘shall have control of instruction in the public schools of their respective districts;’ a constitutional principle known as ‘local control.’”
The board’s resolution continues:
[L]laws passed by the Colorado legislation and signed into law by the Governor that mandate specific instruction or that direct local school districts to follow specific instruction violate the Colorado State Constitution.
Be it resolved, that the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education does not intend to approve a course of instruction that would be required to follow the contents of HB 19-1032 as that would constitute a violation of the Board’s control of instruction and, thus, be unconstitutional.
The primary mission of national organization U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) is to return control of education to parents and local school districts.
The group opposes the type of mandated sex ed programs required in many states.
In a statement sent to Breitbart News specifically about the move by some Colorado schools to challenge the state law, USPIE said it is “excited to see Colorado parents and school districts pushing back in order to regain control of what is taught in their schools.”
“The mission of US Parents Involved in Education is to end all federal involvement in education and return control to parents and local communities,” the group continues. “Efforts like these set an excellent example for others.”
The group says in a statement regarding Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) that CSE “is a blatant intrusion into a traditional family domain and a dangerous assault on the health and innocence of children.”
“We urgently encourage parents to retake control of their children’s sex education,” USPIE says, adding the type of CSE programs that are mandated by some states are “rights-based” approaches that are politically influenced.
They entail “a great deal more than just teaching children and youth about anatomy and physiology, sexual intercourse, and human reproduction,” the statement says and adds:
Most CSE programs contain developmentally inappropriate sex education curricula yet are being foisted on very young children to normalize such behavior. These programs do not promote optimal health outcomes, nor do they empower children to increase self-regulation and goal setting.
The Post reported that other Colorado schools have also announced their opposition to state-mandated curricula on the basis that it violates the constitutionally-protected principle of local control.
The sex ed law gives charter schools, but not traditional public schools, the option of applying for a waiver that would exempt them from the law.
Liberty Common, a charter school in Fort Collins, has applied for such a waiver and is reportedly waiting for the state to sign off on it.
“Our Board of Directors, by adopted resolution, opposes any state curriculum mandate, regardless of subject matter, as a state curriculum mandate is in direct conflict with the state’s constitutional standard of local curricular control,” school board Chair Kelly Notarfrancesco wrote to the Post.
State Rep. Susan Lontine (D), who sponsored the sex ed bill, said the state should be directing schools in what they must teach.
“From my perspective, as a state, we tell schools what they have to teach as far as standards go in all subject matters,” she said. “Kids have to be able to multiply by a certain age or know what a verb is. Those are some specific things. These are things that are important for kids to know.”
According to the Post, Lontine added that children should learn medically accurate information about all forms of birth control.
Children “don’t deserve to be shamed; it should be inclusive,” Lontine said, referring to adults who opposed the sex ed law.
“It disturbed me to think we had so many adults in those (committee hearing) rooms who think kids don’t deserve that,” she said.
However, Pfoff said the principle of “local control” applies whether the topic is sex ed or teacher pay.
“Every state legislator will tell you they believe in local control when it comes to school districts,” he said. “And then they go up to Denver and they start passing laws mandating how we teach our kids.”