Controversial bill would require Minnesota schools to teach ‘diverse sexual orientations and gender identities’

“A lot of parents, thousands and thousands around the state, find it repulsive that our government is going to come in and teach this particular area,” Drazkowski said.

Rep. Sydney Jordan. (Minnesota House Info/YouTube)

House Democrats want to implement a new model of sexual health education in Minnesota’s schools.

A bill co-authored by seventeen Democratic representatives calls for sex education curriculum to move away from abstinence-based teaching and be introduced to early elementary school children.

The bill would require content that discusses “diverse sexual orientations and gender identities,” “bodily autonomy,” and “abstinence and other methods for preventing unintended pregnancies.”

The Minnesota Family Council called this bill “dangerous” in an email from their CEO, John Helmberger.

“Comprehensive sex education includes explicit sexual content for early elementary children, which is strongly opposed by most parents,” the email reads.

According to the Minnesota Family Council, studies have proven that comprehensive sex ed does not “delay sexual activity, reduce teen pregnancy or the number of sexual partners,” or produce lower STD numbers. These results were found when compared to sexual education based on “risk avoidance” or abstinence, the group said.

Additionally, the family group indicated that this bill would not require school administrators to notify parents of “controversial discussions of explicit subjects” that may take place with their children.

If the bill passes, Planned Parenthood would gain even more control over Minnesota’s public schools, the Minnesota Family Council claimed.

The House Education Policy Committee held a hearing on the bill Wednesday for public testimony and discussion among representatives.

The primary author of the bill, Rep. Sydney Jordan, DFL-Minneapolis, clarified that parents are able to opt their children out of this curriculum.

“One of the most important parts of comprehensive sex education is knowing about gender identity … I was never taught that there was anything other than a heteronormative view of relationships,” Jordan noted.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and many other Republican representatives raised concerns about who gets to determine what content is age appropriate, as it is specified in the bill that “age-appropriate” content will be taught at each grade level.

Another common concern was that the government does not have the right to teach this kind of content in public schools.

“A lot of parents, thousands and thousands around the state, find it repulsive that our government is going to come in and teach this particular area,” Drazkowski said. “[The bill] will pass. The Democrats will bring their very radical language forward and make it pass.”

The bill passed 11-8 out of the Education Policy Committee and will be discussed next in the Health Finance and Policy Committee, but is not expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

“Instead we should be trying to figure out how to get through COVID-19 and get our kids back in school,” Drazkowski added.

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