Bill Requiring Health Education Framework For Students Passes House OF Delegates

It does not include an opt-out for parents regarding gender identity, sexual orientation.

Frederick County Delegate April Miller

Annapolis, Md (KM) In a 97-36 vote last Friday, the Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill setting up a comprehensive health education framework for students.

The legislation would require the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland State Department of Education and county boards of education to create an age-appropriate curriculum and consistent a  health education program. The comprehensive health education framework would include health promotion;  mental and emotion health;  substance abuse prevention;  family life and human sexuality; gender identity and sexual orientation; safety and violence prevention; and safe and appropriate use of social media, according to the bill.

The legislation also requires the counties to adopt policies and procedures for parents to out of certain topics for their children. Frederick County Delegate April Miller was not happy with some of the opt out provisions of this bill. “Unfortunately, we did vote to remove the opt-out for families for the gender identity and sexual orientation parts of the curriculum,”  she said.

Delegate Miller said debate on that issue was “pretty intense” during last Friday’s session.

But Miller says she’s not giving up, “I’m still continuing to stand up for our parents’  rights to have a say in how their child is being educated especially around complex and sensitive issues down to the kindergarten level,” she says.

The proposed legislation allows parents to opt out of the family and human sexuality part of the class. But they could not opt out of  instruction regarding HIV and AIDS prevention.

The bill now goes to the State Senate.

By Kevin McManus