Idaho House passes 'opt-in' sex education bill

Posted at 2:40 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 16:40:08-05

BOISE, Idaho — A bill that would require parents to "opt in" before their children can receive sex education in school has cleared the Idaho House on a party-line vote.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Barbara Ehardt of Idaho Falls, now heads to the Senate side of the Idaho Legislature.

The legislation would require parents to specifically opt-in before their children can attend sex education lessons at public schools. That's the opposite of the current system, in which all students receive sex education as part of the standard health curriculum unless their parents opt out.

Ehardt says the sex education classes have normalized sexual behavior and that parents don't understand what is currently being presented to their kids. She says the bill will allow parents to better direct their children's education.

Rep. Sally Toone, a Democrat from Gooding, is a certified health education teacher. She says the bill could force teachers to seek parental permission before giving lessons on genetics, communicable diseases, or basic anatomy.