Let’s get a little awkward, shall we, and discuss the birds and the bees. At least, the teaching of the birds and the bees, which has become a little more cumbersome since the passage of the Alaska Safe School Act. HB 156 went into effect in 2017 and requires school boards to review and approve outside presenters and materials used to teach sex ed, and grants parents the ability to opt their student out of any curriculum area or assessment.
Not all outside presenters and materials have to be approved by the school board. Historians, scientists, poets and so on, are still fine, only those teaching human reproduction. HB 156 had a controversial path into law. Some saw it as an attempt to limit sex ed, in a state where rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies rank among the highest in the nation. Others argued the additional scrutiny was a way to raise awareness and get parents and communities more involved in curriculum.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s school board had its yearly review of supplemental sex ed materials at its Aug. 6 meeting.