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State representative Bradley Jones, leader of the house Republicans, has introduced a bill (H.509) which would revise sex education policies for all schools across the Bay State.

The current statute dealing with sex education in schools is M.G.L. c. 71, § 32A.  The law requires all schools with a sex education course to

Adopt a policy ensuring parental/guardian notification.

This policy, according to the law, shall

Afford parents or guardians the flexibility to exempt their children from any portion of said curriculum through written notification to the school principal.

Such an exemption cannot be used to penalize the child.

Representative Jones’ bill, entitled An Act Relative to Parental Notification, would change the existing law in at least two ways.

First, it would make sex education courses “non-mandatory elective courses” requiring the express written permission from each child’s parent or guardian. 

Such curriculum programs and activities… shall be offered only in clearly identified non-mandatory elective courses in which parents or guardians may choose to enroll their children through written notification to the school, in a manner reasonably similar to other elective courses offered by the school district.

Second, unlike the current law, Jones’ bill would allow teachers and administrators to refrain from participating in sex education courses if the course material violates their religious beliefs.

No public school teacher or administrator shall be required to participate in any such curriculum program and activities which primarily involves human sexual education, human sexuality issues, or sexual orientation issues that violate his or her religious beliefs.

Both the current law and bill H.509 contain identical language that requires schools to give parents and guardians reasonable access to the course literature and other materials.

To the extent practicable, program instruction materials for said curricula shall be made reasonably accessible to parents, guardians, educators, school administrators, and others for inspection and review.