You may have saw in the news that the Illinois General Assembly has sent legislation (Senate Bill 818) to Governor JB Pritzker mandating Illinois schools to expand sexual education curriculum, applying to students as young as kindergarten.
To dispel any rumors, Illinois law, today before this change, requires young school children be taught about bullying, learn about good touch versus bad touch, learn about health, safety, and hygiene, learn about consent, and learn about pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention.
We can all agree, and have agreed, it is the intent of the Illinois legislature to promote health, wellness, and healthy relationships in our children. However, this expansion of sex education to school children, as young as kindergarten, includes defining self-exploration, types of sexual intercourse and recommends videos in the suggested curriculum that are age restricted on YouTube.
These standards are defined by special interest groups from outside of Illinois and is being implemented across the country where state legislatures allow it. The standards are developed in part by a group called Sex Ed for Social Change and others. These groups have political bias and are pushing this change in educating young school children, by their very name to push for “social change”. SIECUS believes that sexually explicit visual, printed, or on-line materials can be valuable educational or personal aids when sensitively used with our children.
The focus is to design a curriculum with an “intersectionality approach” and be centered around “behavioral outcomes”. The age appropriateness of this material is subjective and, upon my personal review, often inappropriate and uncomfortable for me to read.
As SB818 was being debated in late May, I heard from several teachers in my Stateline district who had great concerns about the standards content and approach, as they will be answering to concerned parents. We have a teacher shortage in Illinois, so the likelihood that teachers who are NOT professional sex educators will be required to teach this newly developed curriculum in many schools in Illinois.
Perhaps one of the most discouraging parts of the curriculum this bill supports is the requirement that educators teach our children, who are not legally allowed to create accounts on dating sites to: “safely use the internet, including social media, dating or relationship websites or applications and texting.” Our youth should not be encouraged to explore the internet to learn about dating sites and sexual “health”. These conversations should be conducted by parents with schools focusing on safety issues and reminding students that they may not lawfully visit these sites and participate in the services at their age.
This bill undermines the right of moms, dads, and guardians to parent their children. SB818 is much more than yet another curriculum mandate. Advocates are pushing social change on our children through the guise of improving public health outcomes. We do not need teachers instructing our students how to use dating sites where they are likely to be victimized by pedophiles and human traffickers.
The goal of sexual education is to help our young people grow into healthier relationships and become healthy adults. SB818 misses the mark. It is NOT age appropriate. It IS sexually charged, and in some cases not medically accurate. It takes away local control from our schools and requires diligence on part of parents to research and hoops to jump through to opt out for their children.
I urge Governor JB Pritzker to veto this flawed legislation while honoring the innocence and humanity of our young people in Illinois.
State Representative Tony McCombie advocates on behalf of the 71st District in Illinois. As a legislator she is focused on job creation, property tax relief and improved government accountability. Learn more at RepMcCombie.com.