DENVER – A Colorado House committee passed a bill that would outlaw abstinence-only education in Colorado public schools late Wednesday night.
House Bill 1032 advanced on a 7-4 vote and will be referred to the house committee on appropriations.
The passage of the bill came after more than 300 people testified in favor of and against the bill Wednesday evening at the state capitol.
The bill would ban abstinence-only education, which is still taught in some schools throughout the state- even with a bill passing in 2013 for “Comprehensive Sexual Education.”
Under the bill, schools could still teach abstinence. However, other sexual education methods would need to be included in the curriculum. It also requires schools to talk about LGBT relationships and sexual experiences.
Some schools in the state use outside funding and programs to teach abstinence-only education or charter schools would get waivers from the state to eliminate certain parts of the curriculum.
If signed into law, the bill would eliminate the waivers for those schools. Parents could still remove their children from the class, and schools would be required to provide written notification to parents of their right to remove their child from the lesson.
The bill would also add eight representatives to an oversight committee to monitor the program. Seven of those members would be from “groups of people who have been or might be discriminated against.”
Some of those members include LGBT advocacy and immigrants.
Opponents of the bill said it does not allow for local districts and schools to make their own choices about the sex education curriculum allowed in schools. Supporters argue that it’s important to include LGBT topics in sex education and to provide students information about all birth control options.