(Anchorage, AK) – In response to questions and concerns from Alaskans, Friday Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor addressed a number of topics related to education.
First, to assist the Department of Education and Early Development on the scope of the parental notification law, the Attorney General issued an opinion discussing the meaning of the phrase “human reproduction and sexual matters” as it is used in AS 14.03.016.
Second, he issued two letters—one to school districts and one to school districts and libraries—the first, outlining the laws on parental rights and required notification, the latter, the laws that limit the type of material that can be made available to minors.
“In light of the questions and concerns that have come up, I thought it best to inform everyone of what the law says to avoid further confusion. Whether or not there has been a violation of the law will always be a fact-specific inquiry, so these letters do not cast any blame. The purpose is simply to provide information that can help school districts and libraries comply with the law,” explained Attorney General Taylor. “We all want the best education possible for our children, and working together we can ensure that parents, students, and teachers all have the information they need to accomplish that common goal.”
Over the course of the last year, the topic of education and the laws that apply to it has come up in the Legislature, the media, school districts, municipalities, and the public.
- There have been media stories on books available to minors in libraries and on the libraries’ responsibility to comply with laws prohibiting making indecent material available to minors. AK Public Media article; KTUU article
- There have been concerns raised on whether school district policies properly implement parental notification requirements. Fox News article.
Many of the questions and concerns have come into the Attorney General’s office in various forms. The letters issued today, in conjunction with the Attorney General Opinion, attempt to address these questions and concerns in a uniform way, putting everyone on notice as to what the law actually requires.
The Attorney General Opinion discusses the scope of the parental notification law, making clear that school districts have a responsibility to notify parents before offering trainings or classes about “gender identity.” “We don’t want to catch anyone off guard—quite the opposite. We want to be transparent and hold ourselves as a resource to answer questions and prevent any issues from occurring,” said Attorney General Taylor.
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