Montana Politics

Health Education: It’s Not Parents Against the Schools

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Throughout the entire “debate” about health curriculum in Helena during the past year, opponents of the curriculum have tried to frame the debate as one between parents and those evil school administrators and teachers who are determined to corrupt their children. It was smart public relations. By constantly implying that they represented parents, opponents of the curriculum implied that there were no parents in favor of important health information being provided to students.

The reason the PR worked is because the media, especially the Independent Record, kept promoting it. Today’s story, about HB 456 (another entirely unnecessary, pandering social bill) falls back into that comfortable and entirely untrue narrative.

How were proponents of the bill described today?

One mother said instead of an opt-out…
Mother Lori Page said the bill is a step…
Grandmother Charlene Pulliam said allowing …

Though opponents of the bill were quoted, none were described in terms of their families, though more than one certainly is a parent.

Narratives matter. The ongoing narrative that “parents” oppose health education, or God forbid, sex education is a distortion of the truth. Some parents (mothers and fathers) want their children to be provided health information, and the IR’s coverage should reflect that.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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