Buena Vista – The Buena Vista school board voted unanimously to send a resolution to the Colorado Department of Education that the district would be opposing House Bill 19-1032 on the grounds that it violates the Colorado Constitution by abridging local control of school districts.
The resolution will be on file with the department, giving record of the district’s opposition to the Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education program the bill mandates.
“Even we on the team (responsible for teaching sex education at district schools) have different interpretations of it. Some of us would think that what we’re doing meets it, some of us are not sure if it would,” district Superintendent Lisa Yates said.
“What the bill says is you either do not teach sex education in your schools or you teach comprehensive sex education. There’s nothing in between. So being really clear about what we’re saying yes to is what I believe our community needs more time on,” Yates said. “What this resolution would allow … we’re adding our voice to ‘Is this really in line with the Colorado Constitution?’ and it allows us to teach some form of sex education in the way that we currently have been.”
Yates told the board that if they choose not to sign the resolution, she recommends the schools not teach sex education this year as part of their curriculum, although the classes could be offered optionally, in the same manner as driver’s education classes, or as a part of a student health fair.
These options, the driver’s ed format or the health fair, may still occur with the resolution passed, she said.
The law, passed during last year’s General Assembly, appropriates $1 million annually to be given out through grants. Yates predicted this money would go to larger districts that have the capacity to apply for them, giving those districts the resources to build their own comprehensive sex education programs, and rural districts that do not receive the grants would be obligated to adopt the programs created by the larger districts.
“And be forced to follow communities that have different ethical and moral values,” board Vice President Ken McMurry said. “That’s troublesome for us as well.”
The Chaffee County Times in Buena Vista is published by Arkansas Valley Publishing Co., the parent company of The Mountain Mail.