- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — School districts in Kansas must get parents’ written permission before teaching their children sex education, the state Board of Education decided last week.

The board adopted the policy in a 6-4 vote. Previously, most Kansas districts had an “opt-out” policy — they enrolled children in sex-education classes unless a parent objected in writing.

Only a few other states have “opt-in” requirements on sex education, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a group that promotes sex education. Among them are Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

Board members who voted for the new policy in Kansas said some parents told them they did not know their children were taking sex-education courses until they had started.

“It’s about empowering parents. That’s the bottom line,” said board Chairman Steve Abrams.

Critics of the measure said the children whose parents don’t see a permission form or won’t turn it in are the ones most likely to need the courses. Some also said the rule may violate the Kansas Constitution, which gives local school boards broad authority.

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