Bill to allow students to access the skills and information they need to keep themselves & their peers safe approved on second reading
(Feb. 15) – The House approved Rep. Susan Lontine and Rep. Yadira Caraveo’s bill on second reading to expand the content in the comprehensive sexual education that many students in Colorado already receive. This bill does not require schools to teach sex education, however, existing law requires that if they do provide sex education it must be comprehensive. The bill adds consent, defining a healthy relationship, and sexual orientation to the current standards.
“Colorado’s students deserve access to age-appropriate, accurate and comprehensive information regarding sex education to keep themselves and their classmates healthy and safe,” said Rep. Lontine, D-Denver. “It’s important that students are taught about consent at a young age so they can advocate for themselves.”
Colorado does not have a mandatory sex education requirement. However, existing law does provide a set of standards if school decides to teach about sex education. This bill would increase the ranges of topics to include birth control and pregnancy, abstinence, STD prevention, consent, healthy relationships and sexual orientation. “As a doctor in a clinic, I only have the ability to affect one child and one life at a time,” said Rep. Caraveo, D-Denver. “Schools have the ability to improve the health of hundreds of kids at a time through the ability to provide comprehensive sex ed that will prevent countless young people from facing life altering illnesses or unplanned pregnancies.”
This bill would also allocate $1 million in funds to an existing grant program administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for teaching comprehensive sex education. Rural schools and public schools that do not have the resources to offer sex education will be prioritized for receiving this grant money.
Some of the common misconceptions about this legislation are around the opt-out options already in place, the content around LGBTQ inclusion, and the definition of a healthy relationship.
“I think about this bill and I think about all of the unnecessary hurt that this could have prevented for my mother. That if she had the opportunity in school for somebody to talk to her about healthy relationships, to answer questions about what she was going through. To show her that she’s normal – that nothing is wrong with her – . what could that have done for her?” said Rep, Kyle Mullica, D- Northglenn during a moving speech on the House floor. “And I think about what this bill can do for our LGBTQ students today and the unnecessary pain that it can prevent today.”
House Republicans attempted to sabotage this bill on the House floor by introducing a number of politically charged amendments that would have gutted the bill and reflected how out of step they are with everyday Coloradans and students.
The bill was approved in an initial House floor vote 35-20 and now will need to be approved by a recorded vote on third reading in the House.
ATTACHED: Headshots of Rep. Lontine, Rep. Caraveo and Rep. Mullica
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