GOP Arizona state senator introduces bill that would ban sex ed in elementary, middle schools

GOP Arizona state senator introduces bill that would ban sex ed in elementary, middle schools

A bill introduced to the Arizona Senate would ban sex education in elementary and middle schools in the state before seventh grade.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times, the bill also deletes verbiage in existing school materials that discusses homosexuality.  

The bill was introduced by Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen (R), who chairs the Senate Education Committee. The committee will hold a hearing on the bill next week.

ADVERTISEMENT

Socially conservative-leaning supporters of the proposed bill argue that current sex education may not align with their family values or may not be age-appropriate. 

However, Democrats in the state legislature view Allen’s bill as an attempt to undo their repeal of the “No Promo Homo” law, which banned schools from “promoting homosexuality” or “suggesting that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.”

Opponents of the proposed bill also feel that ignoring homosexuality in sex education could lead to increased health risks for LGBTQ students. 

“This is really a health issue,” state Sen. Tony Navarrete (D), who is openly gay, told the Capitol Times. 

The no “No Promo Homo” bill was first introduced in the early 90s as rates of HIV rose in the state and across the country.

“Things could have been a lot different, and I could have come out a lot sooner,” he told The Arizona Republic. “I didn’t understand the different things that I was going through as a young man.”

In Arizona, curriculum is handled at the district level, meaning if the bill passes, schools will have to individually adjust their materials to comply with state law. The bill would also require districts to hold public meetings subject to public comment while drafting sex education curriculum. 

Currently, state guidelines require sex education materials to promote abstinence as the primary way to reduce sexually transmitted diseases. 

The Arizona Department of Education expects sexual education to be a top issue this legislative session, although spokesperson Richie Taylor told the Capitol Times that State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman doesn’t plan to push legislation on this subject.