DENVER (CBS4)– State lawmakers are discussing a controversial sex education bill. The proposal would change the way public school students learn about the topic.
As it stands right now, the bill will get rid of a waiver letting public charter schools pick out their sex education criteria. The proposal also funds a grant program for schools that lack resources to teach human sexuality.
The bill expands on LGBTQ relationships and would ban the abstinence-only approach. Schools will have to accept the more comprehensive curriculum or teach nothing at all.
“Our children are our most valuable resource and I think they need to have all the tools necessary to lead a productive life,” said one of the bill’s sponsors Sen. Don Coram, a Republican representing counties in southwestern Colorado.
Hundreds showed up at the hearing at the state Capitol to testify both in support of the bill and against it.
One woman said she wanted to publicly support the bill because she said knowledge about sexuality will help protect kids from sexual crimes.
“This bill supports understanding for young children boundaries and bodies,” said the woman.
Attorney Nicole Hunt came to oppose the bill because she thinks the government is intruding in private life.
“Colorado citizens don’t want the government telling them how to educate their children on sexual education. Colorado citizens want to be free to make decision that are best for themselves and their families,” said Hunt.
Amendments were proposed to clarify that parents or schools can opt out, to protect student’s speech and beliefs, that sex acts will not be taught, and that sex education will not be taught to kids younger than third grade.
“If you are raising your children with your morals and your values you have nothing to fear,” said Sen. Nancy Todd, a Democrat representing Aurora.
Coram says this bill isn’t about pushing any particular agenda but it’s about protecting children, “I think it’s something our children need to be educated about we also need to be tolerant of others that think different than we do.”