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Ohio Republicans want schools to tell parents about 'sexually explicit content'

The Parents' Bill of Rights Act doesn't specify what defines "sexually explicit content."

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Should parents have the right to censor classroom instruction? On Sept. 15, two Ohio House Republicans introduced legislation that would require school boards to disclose to parents all "sexually explicit content" taught in the classroom and give parents the right to demand an alternative. 

State Reps. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) and Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) introduced the "Parents’ Bill of Rights Act," which they said will protect and preserve the fundamental role that parents play in the education of their children.

In a release, Swearingen said, "The focus is to ensure that parents are empowered to be involved in their child’s education both inside and outside the classroom. In Ohio, we value parents' taking an active role in their child’s life. When parents are involved, their children succeed. When children succeed, the future of Ohio becomes brighter."

Scott DiMauro, the president of the Ohio Education Association. said the "Parents' Bill of Rights Act" is bad for students and teachers. 

"It is shameful....it prevents us from giving students the learning opportunities that they need and deserve. And it's also bad for educators because it's not honoring the professionalism of the education profession," he said. "It has nothing to do with the well-being of students, it has nothing to do with the realities of our schools. It's all about politicizing what happens in education."

DiMauro said he's not sure how this bill would change things if it passed but he explained that there are already processes at local school districts for parents to access and review the curriculum and request accommodations for their children. However, he is worried that it could change how students learn about science. 

"There's no exception for the teaching of science, teaching anatomy, teaching about health, you know, those are subject areas where sometimes you're going to talk about, for example, the reproductive system. I mean, that's just, that's just the nature of, you know, that content," said DiMauro.

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