Leave sex education up to local boards

By The Mercury

Kansas lawmakers, hypersensitive about anything resembling a federal mandate, don’t mind interfering with local governing bodies.

One example this session involves sex education. Specifically, it involves a bill that would require that parents consent in writing before their children can receive sex education or any materials on sexuality, diseases and the like in Kansas public schools.

Parents already have the authority to keep their children out of sex education classes. State law allows local school boards to decide whether parents must opt their children into or out of sex education classes. There is no reason to change that.

State Rep. Kasha Kelley, an Arkansas City Republican who chairs the House Education Committee, told the Associated Press, “(Parents) do not feel it is appropriate or the place for education to teach issues that are overly or overtly so graphic.”

And Rep. Willie Dove, a Bonner Springs Republican, called the legislation “one of those things that I think are necessary because it gives parents the opportunity to find out exactly what’s being taught to their kids. This puts its squarely in the hands of parents, where it should be.”

The posturing doesn’t change the fact that such decisions are already “squarely in the hands of parents.” They can keep their children out of sex education class in any public school district in Kansas.

State legislators ought to remind their constituents of that, refer them to their local school board and focus on state issues.

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