Culminating a week in which Virginia House Republicans went after a woman’s right to choose, clean energy, etc, etc., a few minutes ago they struck again, this time voting to gut Family Life Education programs in Virginia. The bill in question is far-right, anti-LGBT bigot and extremist Del. Dave LaRock (R-HD33)’s HB2570, which “prohibits any public elementary or secondary school student from participating in any family life education program without the prior written consent of his parent.” This would, in other words, change the current “opt-out” for parents to an “opt-in,” which would seriously harm, even gut, Family Life Education (FLE) program participation rates in Virginia.
As Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax) pointed out: 1) the current opt-out provisions “empower parents to review material,” “prompt conversations” between parents and children”; 2) “the system works”; 3) “only 3% of students in Fairfax County decide to opt out”; so 4) “if we reverse that and say that 97% have to opt in, we are really harming our Family Life Education programs for the long term, and…that means that our children are not going to be learning fundamental issues and life lessons regarding dating violence…abuse…human trafficking…that are extraordinary critical.”
In short, this is a terrible bill that will seriously harm and/or gut Family Life Education in Virginia. Which is, apparently, exactly what Del. Dave LaRock and his fellow Republicans want to happen.
From Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen:
“In Fairfax County, we have always respected the right of parents to opt-out students from FLE curriculum, and that option is always clearly communicated to parents at the beginning of each school year. However, to require parents to opt-in students will not only increase the administrative burden on school districts, but more importantly it will also deprive many students from learning important life lessons about reproductive health, human sexuality, mental health, family living and community relationships.”
From Fairfax County School Board (Providence District) candidate Karl Frisch:
“Fairfax County parents already have the ability to opt their children out of these courses. Republicans in Richmond should listen to experts rather than kowtowing to anti-science, anti-equality extremists.”