South Dakota Republicans are determined to impose on our children health education that doesn’t work and deny them public health practices that do work.
The execrable Representative Tony Randolph (R-25/Rapid City) compounds his doltishness by proposing House Bill 1162 to strangle sex education and expand abstinence education in South Dakota. HB 1162 would require parents to opt in for their children to receive any sex education. Parents would have to file their written permission two weeks ahead of any sexy instruction or presentation “with the school district board of trustees”… which is either a trick to completely ban sex ed—”board of trustees” is not a term used in South Dakota school law—or a sign that Randolph cribbed this ostrich bill from some out-of-state culture-war group.
Showing his further contempt for education and educators, Randolph would require schools to give the kids whose parents decline or forget to opt their kids into useful health education “an extra study period during the instruction or presentation.” Randolph thus dictates curriculum—or in this case, a mandated absence of curriculum—to local schools, telling them they can’t create meaningful alternative learning experiences and must instead give study hall to the kids whom he’s protecting from pictures of penises.
HB 1162 also adds detail to the “abstinence education” already mandated by our “character education” statute—and yes, it does take some real characters to keep promoting abstinence “education,” which research and experience show does not work. Randolph’s bill forbids schools from providing any instruction on the use of contraceptive products or methods and, for good measure, throws in a subjective and unenforceable restriction on “materials and instruction” that are “excessively graphic or explicit” or “include explicit descriptions of sexual activity that encourage erotic, lewd, or obscene behavior.” Throw those vagueries into statute, and no school will risk putting any diagrams of reproductive systems or any description of reproductive activities in any textbook, because, heck, teenage boys get off scribbling simple and inaccurate depictions of organs on bathroom stalls; imagine the erotic and lewd sensations created by actual scientific diagrams of the parts from which we all spring!
Rep. Randolph wants to deny kids knowledge proven to help them lead healthier lives. His Majority Leader, Representative Lee Qualm (R-21/Platte) wants to deny them vaccines that keep them alive. House Bil 1235 would prohibit all schools, public and private, K-12 and post-secondary, from requiring immunization for enrollment. Such a move means more children will get sick and die:
If this bill passes, Dr. Mark List from Avera says there could be consequences.
“If nationwide vaccination rates go down and down and down, we’re going to see more and more of these cases like measles and infectious organisms come back and wreak havoc on our communities,” said Dr. List.
He says vaccinations are one of the most important things when it comes to public health.
“It’s very important to not only prevent disease, but also prevent the spread of disease,” said Dr. List.
While he does believe people have the right to make their own choices, “that’s true except in the cases of infectious diseases,” said Dr. List.
He says choosing not to vaccinate could negatively impact others.
“This is not just about individual, personal health and parental choice. It’s about the safety of the public,” said Dr. List.
“Why we require vaccinations is because when a child becomes infected they become a bio weapon and can spread the disease to all the other kids in the class, including kids who may be too sick to get the vaccinations or are too young to get certain vaccinations” [Miranda Paige, “Doctor Responds to New Vaccination Bill,” KSFY, 2020.02.05].
Anti-vaccination bushwah is already putting children and adults at greater risk. That Representative Qualm would promote the unscientific lies against sensible public health interventions is irresponsible… but, alas, entirely in keeping with the destructive ignorance that characterizes the South Dakota Republican Party’s approach to this year’s Legislative Session.