Posted: Mar 5, 2013 5:54 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Mar 5, 2013 5:54 PM
HELENA - After passing through the Montana House of Representative, a Senate committee will be discussing legislation that would require parents and guardians in Montana to opt their child in to sex education. How will this bill change things for Helena Public Schools?
Right now, the protocol for sex education in Helena Public Schools is an opt-out situation.
"If a parent doesn't want their child in, then they can write a note and then we offer an alternative pathway to meet the curriculum need, but they have to write a note to do that," said Helena Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kent Kultgen.
Speaking on behalf of the school district, the superintendent says they want parents to know what their kids are learning.
"We still want parents active in there, we want parents knowing what's in the curriculum and what's being taught in their child's classroom," he adds.
We received many viewer comments on the KXLH Facebook page about the legislation:
Mandy Sammons: "Sex education is not for our government to decide when to teach. It is for me to decide when to teach my children."
Jessi Austad: "With how society is and about 1/3 of my daughter['s] middle school is already sexually active...i think it should be introduced at a younger age. Most kids already know at a young age anyhow. I believe parents should be involved with it and should have the choice but the kids are going to find out from their friends [whether] or not they go to that class."
However, opting out isn't very common in Helena Public Schools.
"Probably around 12 to 15 times it's happened, so not very much when you take a look at all of our schools over the last couple years," Kultgen said.
He believes that it would not be the best for our district.
"If it's all opt-in, I do believe we're going to miss some of those students whose parents probably aren't offering that education, but yet aren't involved enough involved enough to give that opt-in letter. To get that piece of paper takes a lot of resources," Kultgen said.
HB 239 will be heard Wednesday by the Public Health, Welfare, and Safety committee in the MT Senate.