In our 2/25/2020 local caucus, we had a spirited discussion about the proposed Sex Education Bill HF 1414 sponsored by Rep. Todd Lippert, DFL-Northfield. This bill would require sex education to be medically accurate and age appropriate. In addition, curriculum would be expected to cover a wide variety of topics, including gender-based violence, affirmative consent and contraceptives, and would be required to be inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, it has rules stipulating procedures for detecting and reporting sexual predators employed by the school.
Nowhere in the bill is there a list of books that the school must adopt. Directly from the bill:
(1) respect community values and encourage students to communicate with parents or
guardians; faith, health, and social services professionals; and other trusted adults about
sexuality and intimate relationships;
(2) respond to culturally diverse individuals, families, and communities in an inclusive,
respectful, and effective manner;
(3) provide students with information about local resources where students may obtain medically accurate information and services related to sexual and reproductive health, dating violence, and sexual assault.
I think there is confusion because on the House floor, Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, cited the book “It’s Perfectly Normal” as an example of what he believes sex education could look like if the new guidelines are approved. This book was taken to several meetings around the state to promote the defeat of the bill. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie H. Harris, first published in 1994, is intended to teach children 10 and older about sexual health. The book includes cartoon depictions of naked people engaging in acts of a sexual nature. Many school libraries across the nation have banned or restricted access to the book, but a limited number of Minnesota districts have it in their collections.
I personally would not want this book taught in schools. If parents want their child to have access to this book, it should be done in the home with a parent. That doesn’t mean I am against Sex Education, but as a concerned parent (now grandparent) I would certainly make sure that the school board adheres to my moral values.