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Apr 17, 2017 4:16 PM

Sununu signs sex education parental notification bill into law


CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu Monday signed into law a bill that requires New Hampshire schools to give parents a two week notice before teaching sex education or human sexuality in the classroom.

Supporters of the measure say it will give parents the power to ensure their children are being taught appropriate material at school. But those opposed to the legislation argue that it could create hurdles when it comes to teaching not just sex education but other curriculum as well.

In a statement, Sununu said “this bipartisan legislation is consistent with my longtime support for measures that further empower parents’ involvement in their child’s education.”

“New Hampshire is now joining with 22 other states and the District of Columbia in ensuring school districts allow parental involvement when sensitive topics and materials are discussed in the classroom. It is important to let parents know what students are learning and this bill encourages clear and open lines of communication regarding curriculum content in this important area,” he added.

The governor told NH1 News last week that he was “inclined to sign the bill.”

Sununu is the first Republican governor in the Corner Office in a dozen years. His Democratic predecessor, now U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, vetoed a similar measure in the last legislative session.

The bill would require a school district or teacher to give parents or guardians at least two weeks’ notice before human sexuality or sex education is taught in the classroom. The Granite State already gives parents the ability to remove their children from such lessons.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party quickly criticized the governor, saying in a tweet that "instead of passing/signing any economic bills (still at ZERO), Sununu decided to make it harder for schools to teach sex-ed."

Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, said in a statement that “this bill jeopardizes Granite State students' ability to get the critical information they need to make healthy lifelong choices. We are disappointed Governor Sununu who did not listen to the thousands of constituents and experts both in education, public health, and local school administration who opposed this bill.”

Republican state Rep. Victoria Sullivan of Manchester was the prime sponsor of the bill. She says she got into politics because she couldn’t get answers from her school system when it came to course material one of sons was being taught.

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