The Republican National Committee, which held its summer meeting in Austin last week, unanimously approved a resolution calling on all public schools to make sex education courses “opt in”—meaning parents would have to give explicit approval for students to take the classes—rather than the “opt out” approach used by many school systems, which notify parents about sex ed classes and provide the option to keep their children out of a class if they object.
The resolution warns that opt-out procedures leave students too vulnerable to learning about issues like “abortion, birth control, sexual activity, sexual orientation, transgenderism, and/or gender identity.”
Religious Right groups like the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel are celebrating the adoption of the resolution, which calls on state legislatures to enact legislation imposing the opt-in requirement on all public schools.
The RNC resolution was drafted and sponsored by Cynthia Dunbar, an RNC member from Virginia. Dunbar was a state co-chair for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, and she ran for Congress this year but failed to win the GOP nomination.
Before moving to Virginia and joining Liberty University, Dunbar was a member of the Texas State Board of Education, where she worked to incorporate Christian nationalist themes into the state’s textbooks. Her 2008 book, “One Nation Under God,” said the establishment of public schools was unconstitutional and tyrannical, and likened sending children to public school to “throwing them into the enemy’s flames.”
FRC’s Tony Perkins hosted Dunbar on his “Washington Watch” program yesterday to celebrate what Dunbar called a “landmark resolution.” She said, “I’m hopeful that a lot of state legislative bodies will take this resolution and run with it and use it as impetus to pass legislation to require this of all school districts.”
Liberty Counsel says it is “preparing to begin work this fall on getting legislation introduced in as many states as possible.” The group also wants to repeal “obscenity exemptions” that it says “permit harmful and illegal materials to be presented at schools and libraries under the guide of educational and/or scientific materials.”