Wilk’s sex ed transparency bill passes Senate Education Committee

Politics and government

News release 

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced his bill improving transparency between parents and schools’ sexual education curricula passed out of the Senate Education Committee. 

“This is all about transparency and building trust, and schools should be a safe place in which parents have absolute trust in their child’s educational experience,” Wilk said in a news release. “Parents don’t just have an important role to play, they have a right to be involved. Making it easier for them to decide what is appropriate for their child is not just common sense, it’s good governance.” 

Under current law, sex ed materials are required to be provided for review upon request. However, because there is no timeline requirement for schools to provide those materials, the process to obtain and review them is often difficult. 

Senate Bill 996 streamlines the process by requiring school districts to publish sex ed and HIV prevention materials on their website before the materials are presented to students. In addition, local educational authorities must hold a publicly noticed hearing to inform parents and guardians of how they can examine those materials. 

The California Healthy Youth Act requires all pupils in grades 7-12 to receive sex ed and HIV prevention education at least once in middle school, and at least once in high school. 

School districts can choose to provide sex ed earlier than seventh grade, but parents must opt in and the materials must be age-appropriate and medically accurate. A parent must actively opt out if they would prefer their child to not participate. 

Under SB 996, a school district would post its sex ed curriculum on its website, keep it updated, and refer parents to the site if they ask to review the materials. 

If a parent believed that the curriculum provided to their child is not suitable, they would have the option to request an opt-out. 

“There needs to be dialogue instead of talking over one another, and that’s simply what this bill promotes. It will help stop controversy before it starts, take the current burden off of administrators, and empower parents to become more involved in their child’s education,” Wilk added. 

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