PHOENIX (KPHO) — One Arizona lawmaker wants to revolutionize public education in the state by requiring sex education. It would start in kindergarten.
This will be the fourth time since 2012 that Rep. Juan Mendez, D-District 26, is pitching a sex -education bill. This time, however, it doesn’t have bipartisan support. Twenty other lawmakers are on board, but all of them are Democrats.
It’s a touchy topic with no clear, correct answer.
“Abstinence-only education is fine for the students who will say no, but it does nothing for the students who are gonna say yes,” Mendez said.
Mendez believes “no sex education” policy flat out fails kids and teens.
“Too many youth pregnant, we have too many youth with sexual infections, and a lot of it is because we have let them go out into the world uneducated,” he added.
Mendez wants to amend state law with House Bill 2410. It would not only require sex education be taught in Arizona classrooms, but that it start in kindergarten.
“It’s talking about healthy relationships. It’s talking about making sure there are no violence done to partners, or to have violence done to themselves,” Mendez explained.
The curriculum would have to be “medically and developmentally accurate” as well as “age appropriate.”
“I’d have to see the curriculum before I could say whether I thought it was beneficial to the students,” first-grade teacher Sara Gregg said.
She sees 7-year-olds understanding only so much when it comes to sex education.
“Good touching and bad touching, and how you know, like a hug with your family,” Gregg explained.
But this proposed law is sure to spark opposition from parents with closely held beliefs.
“My dad’s actually a minister and so that was kind of against his religious beliefs,” Bethany Wright, the parent of a 5-year-old, said. “He felt like that was something that we shouldn’t be taught at school.”
Wright says it was a belief that was passed on from one generation to the next.
“I feel that that should be more the parents’ duty than the school system’s,” Wright said.
Even though this sex-education amendment would have to be enforced by the state’s Department of Education, parents would have the final say. They could opt their child(ren) out of sex education if they so chose.