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Thu Jun 11, 2015, 12:17 PM

Alaska Safe Children’s Act: education & bill on dating & sexual abuse

Alaska Dispatch

For parents behind 'Bree's Law,' a blunt education in Alaska politics
Just about every day, a mother and father arrive at the Alaska Legislature’s Anchorage office to plead with lawmakers. They say that what they want is simple: for dating violence education to be taught to middle- and high-school students in Alaska public schools. But that's turning out to be harder than they thought.

Politics | Michelle Theriault Boots
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Senator restores most of ‘Erin’s Law’ bill, strips out politically charged extras
A state senator unveiled a new draft of a bill to combat child sexual abuse and dating violence that rejects several controversial elements of a previous version sponsored by one of her colleagues.

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House Bill 44, originally known as Erin’s Law and Bree’s Law but rebranded the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, is aimed at getting Alaska school districts to teach students about sexual abuse and dating violence.

The state House earlier this year passed the bill making the instruction mandatory. 

But in the Senate Education Committee, the chairman, Sen. Mike Dunleavy, a social conservative Republican from Wasilla, changed the bill to make districts’ adoption of the sexual abuse and dating violence curriculum optional. And he added controversial sections banning abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from working in schools, and forcing schools to get permission from parents before their children can participate in sexual education classes.

MacKinnon’s version of the bill, introduced in a Wednesday morning hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, took out the most controversial provisions that had been inserted by Dunleavy. And it restored language in the measure requiring districts to teach about sexual abuse and dating violence, though there’s a new two-year delay before that section of the bill goes into effect.

MacKinnon’s version of the bill also creates a task force to recommend model curriculum and teacher training materials related to sexual abuse and dating violence.

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Politics | Nathaniel Herz
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