For an institution that purportedly values and wants parental involvement above everything else, the Clark County School District has a lousy way of showing it.
Last year, parents could not have been more clear or spoken with more force when they lambasted a sex education overhaul that school district administrators tried to impose in secret. Closed-door, invitation-only meetings that intentionally excluded parents focused on replacing Nevada’s pregnancy-prevention focus with “comprehensive” sexuality education that introduces students to all kinds of intimacy, starting in elementary school.
So the school district walked back the plan and held public meetings, where parents showed up by the hundreds and hundreds to say, “No way.” And that should have been that.
But some school district officials, and especially School Board Trustee Carolyn Edwards, are convinced that parents aren’t smart enough to advocate for their children’s interests and teach them about sex on their own. This year, they pushed forward with new cart-before-the-horse sex-ed changes that parents unequivocally don’t want.
The issue is the state’s “opt-in” law, which requires parents to formally consent before their child can participate in sex education classes and ensures they are properly notified. Ms. Edwards wants the law changed to force families to opt out, which would herd more students into classes their parents might not want them to participate in. So a Tuesday School Board meeting at downtown’s Las Vegas Academy supposedly was focused on whether the school district would lobby the 2017 Legislature to change the opt-in law to an opt-out standard. Never mind that the 2013 Legislature, which was controlled by Democrats, wouldn’t support changes.
But the hundreds of parents who came to Tuesday’s meeting understand the bigger picture. School district officials and Ms. Edwards still want a more liberal sex education program, despite the lack of public support for it. But the opt-in law will undermine their ability to impose it on all students. They know that if they can change the law to require parents to opt out, they’ll get a larger audience, at which time they’ll change the sex education curriculum to the politicized version they want.
Parents aren’t falling for it. The school district wants parental involvement? It’s right in front of officials — again. And it will remain there as long as the system pursues policies parents won’t support. Drop the sex education changes already.