Bill Description: House Bill 272 would require schools to receive written consent from a parent or guardian before a child can be enrolled in sex education instruction. It would also give parents the right to sue if a school district were to violate this practice or if classroom instruction in sex education is not made available to them.
Analyst’s Note: A similar bill, House Bill 249, was introduced in 2021 and earned a rating of +1 on the Idaho Freedom Index. The proposed bill incorporates a significant addition, so it merits a higher rating.
Does the bill allow schools to be more flexible, improve feedback mechanisms, and decentralize decisions to the family or individual level? (+) Conversely, does the bill add to the existing education bureaucracy? (-)
House Bill 272 would give the parents or legal guardians of public school students the right to choose whether their child will participate in sex education instruction. Parents who allow their child to participate would need to file written permission with the school district, which would be tasked with providing an applicable form. Under the bill, “[a] child may not participate in any instruction in sex education without written permission,” which would be required for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
House Bill 272 would require school districts to provide an alternative educational option for students who do not receive written permission from their parents to participate in planned sex education instruction.
As those who know and love their children best, parents should be able to decide whether their minor children participate in sex education instruction at school. House Bill 272 gives this right to parents and allows schools to decentralize this decision to the family level.
Does the bill create more transparency or accountability in public education institutions? (+) Conversely, does the bill reduce transparency and accountability in such institutions? (-)
House Bill 272 would increase transparency by requiring school districts to report the identity and qualifications of “any third party or any person who is not a licensed teacher in the state of Idaho'' who provides sex education instruction in the district. The bill would also provide that “[a]ny classroom instruction by a school or third party on sex education … be made available to all parents or legal guardians.”
House Bill 272 would increase accountability by giving parents the right to sue “any school employee or private entity for violation of any provision” of the bill.