When state legislators are in session the people better be paying close attention.
There is a bill right now before Idaho legislators to address the language of the law concerning Family Life and Sex Education. (section 33-1608 Idaho State Legislature). The link I have referenced is the current law, amended last in 1970.
Here is how it currently reads:
COURSES OF INSTRUCTION
33-1608. FAMILY LIFE AND SEX EDUCATION — LEGISLATIVE POLICY. The legislature of the state of Idaho believes that the primary responsibility for family life and sex education, including moral responsibility, rests upon the home and the church and the schools can only complement and supplement those standards which are established in the family. The decision as to whether or not any program in family life and sex education is to be introduced in the schools is a matter for determination at the local district level by the local school board of duly selected representatives of the people of the community. If such program is adopted, the legislature believes that:
a. Major emphasis in such a program should be to assist the home in giving them the knowledge and appreciation of the important place the family home holds in the social system of our culture, its place in the family and the responsibility which will be there much later when they establish their own families.
b. The program should supplement the work in the home and the church in giving youth the scientific, physiological information for understanding sex and its relation to the miracle of life, including knowledge of the power of the sex drive and the necessity of controlling that drive by self-discipline.
c. The program should focus upon helping youth acquire a background of ideals and standards and attitudes which will be of value to him now and later when he chooses a mate and establishes his own family.
[33-1608, added 1970, ch. 119, sec. 1, p. 282.]
Notice a few things with me…
- The state of Idaho believes (in 1970) that the primary responsibility for family life and sex education, including moral responsibility, rests upon the home and the church.
- The school can only complement and supplement those standards. The standards established in the family.
- Local school districts/boards is the level that determines how this is implemented.
- The state of Idaho (in 1970) saw that the jurisdiction of family life and sex education was chiefly, the duty of the family.
- The state of Idaho (in 1970) believed the best place for children to responsibly establish their own families was in the authority of the family.
- The state of Idaho (in 1970) set law in place to ensure that children would primarily receive their moral, scientific, physiological instruction for understanding sex and its relationship to the miracle of life, and set its moral compass of the sex drive and self discipline as high priorities of family and church.
- The state of Idaho (in 1970) was satisfied to be a supplement for what was to be primarily taught in home and church.
- The state of Idaho (in 1970) believed that parents were qualified to give their children the necessary background, attitude and morality to help them make informed decisions now and to later choose a mate and establish their own homes.
Our duty now is to consider what is being presented to legislators today. We need to ask good questions about why they are suggesting changes and why have they deliberately chosen the wording of such and what are they saying about home and church today in relationship to what was previously thought about them both.
This demands our attention.
Here is the new wording of the proposal…
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 414
BY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
AN ACT RELATING TO SEX EDUCATION; REPEALING SECTIONS 33-1608 THROUGH 33-1611,
IDAHO CODE, RELATING TO SEX EDUCATION; AND AMENDING CHAPTER 16, TITLE 33,
IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 33-1608,
IDAHO CODE, TO ESTABLISH PROVISIONS REGARDING SEX EDUCATION.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
SECTION 1. That Sections 33-1608 through 33-1611, Idaho Code, be, and
the same are hereby repealed.
SECTION 2. That Chapter 16, Title 33, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and
designated as Section 33-1608, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
33-1608. SEX EDUCATION.
(1) For purposes of this section, “sex education” means the study of:
(a) The anatomy and physiology of human reproduction; and
(b) The development of healthy relationships.
(2) The decision to include sex education in the school curriculum
shall be made at the district level by the board of trustees. If a sex education
program is included in the curriculum, the program shall:
(a) Be medically accurate according to published authorities on which
medical professionals generally rely, which authorities shall be designated
in rule by the state board of education; and
(b) Adhere to the Idaho content standards for health education as
established by the state board of education.
(3) School districts shall involve families and community groups in the
planning, development, evaluation and revision of any instruction in sex
education offered as part of the school curriculum.
(4) A child may be excused from sex education if the child’s parent
or legal guardian files an excuse request to the school district board of
trustees on a form made available by the board. Alternative educational programs shall be provided for excused children
Acknowledgement: I am not a lawyer. I make no pretenses on this matter. I’m writing with an attempt to be a well informed and responsible follower of Christ. This is my one and only agenda. Nothing hidden in my observation of this change in Idaho law.
Here are the following initial observations of the change in Idaho law Section 33-1611
- First, note that this revision of a law starts with scrapping the entire previous law. Maybe that’s the normal way to keep a law clean, but when what was previously the law and the intentional language of the law is completely removed I want to know why and I want to pay close attention to what the new law has to say.
- Second, I note there is no mention of church. It may be implied by the language of “community groups” but that is no small change and should not be overlooked.
- Third, I note that the state law seeks primarily to “involve” families rather than treat families as the primary educator on this matter.
- I then see that there is, what appears to be, intentionally dangerous language that leaves the matter of morality to the subjective wind of “published authorities” on which medical professionals “generally” rely.
- The law gives parents right to excuse a child from the “sex education” curriculum on a form made available by the local school district board of trustees. Then it gives unclear direction as to what the alternative curriculum that is to be provided for excused children is.
I will be writing my legislators today to inform them of how I read this and express desire that they not alter the good law we already have. I urge you to do the same. Even if you don’t agree with me in how I read the proposal.
What do you think about this?