Lawsuit Filed to Block Arkansas Law Protecting Students From CRT, Explicit Sexual Material

A federal lawsuit filed Monday would block the State of Arkansas from enforcing a section of the 2023 LEARNS Act protecting public school students from Critical Race Theory and explicit sexual material at school.

Act 237 of 2023 is a comprehensive education law by Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) and Rep. Keith Brooks (R – Little Rock) titled “The LEARNS Act.”

The law deals with issues such as Critical Race Theory, teacher salaries, public school employment, early childhood care, and protecting elementary school children from inappropriate sexual material at school.

It also provides a blueprint for implementing a voluntary school choice program that would make it possible for students to receive a publicly-funded education at a public or private school or at home.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday specifically challenges Section 16 of the LEARNS Act, which does the following:

  • Section 16 requires the Arkansas Secretary of Education to review all policies to be sure that indoctrination — including critical race theory — is prohibited and that no public school employee or public school student is required to attend training or orientation that is based on Critical Race Theory or other prohibited indoctrination.
  • Section 16 requires each public school to implement a child sex abuse and human trafficking prevention program that is age appropriate and complies with Arkansas Department of Education standards.
  • Section 16 prohibits sexual material in classroom instruction before fifth grade. This includes instruction regarding sexual intercourse, sexual reproduction, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

You can download a copy of Section 16 here.

Under Section 16 of the LEARNS Act, sex education is prohibited in Kindergarten and early elementary school. In later grades, sex education must be conducted according to other state laws—including other Arkansas laws that prohibit explicit, “comprehensive” sex education. Altogether, Section 16 makes significant improvements to Arkansas sex education laws.

The lawsuit focuses on the LEARNS Act’s effect on AP African American Studies at Central High School in Little Rock.

However, the lawsuit asks the federal court to declare Section 16 of the LEARNS Act unconstitutional and block the State of Arkansas from enforcing it.

If a federal court blocked all of Section 16 as the lawsuit requests, that presumably would include the parts of the law protecting public school students from explicit sexual material in the classroom.

You Can Download a Copy of the Lawsuit Here.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Faith, Family Deter Teen Sexual Activity: New CDC Report

A Centers for Disease Control report released this month shows that faith and family are two primary reasons teenagers choose not to be sexually active.

The CDC’s “Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing” report surveyed teens between 2015 and 2019, and compared data to similar reports released in previous years.

The CDC’s findings underscore the ways faith and family affect teenage sexual activity.

First, researchers found “the main reason most commonly chosen by female teenagers for not having had sex, among the options provided, was ‘against religion or morals’ (32.5%) . . . Among male teenagers, the most commonly chosen main reason for not having had sex was ‘haven’t found the right person yet’ (35.3%), followed by ‘against religion or morals’ (26.2%).”

In other words, a teen’s religious beliefs play a significant role in whether he or she will be sexually active.

Second, teens who lived in a two-parent household with their biological or adoptive parents were less likely to engage in sexual activity than their peers.

The study also found sexual activity was higher among teenagers who did not live with both biological or adoptive parents.

The researchers concluded,

The probability of having had sex by age 17 was lowest for females who lived with both biological or adoptive parents at age 14 (42%) compared with those who lived in other parental living arrangements (64%–67%). The same pattern held by parental living arrangement for males ages 15–24.

To put it plainly: Moms and dads matter, and they have a profound impact on their children.

This latest report is reminiscent of a 208-page report the CDC released in 2016 regarding teenage sexual activity.

The 2016 report examined sexual activity and health trends among youth. It looked at everything from seatbelt and bike helmet use to substance abuse, diet, exercise, and even tanning bed use.

The 2016 report concluded teenagers who practiced abstinence were healthier in nearly every way than teenagers who were sexually active.

It also determined that sexually-active teens were less healthy and were more likely to engage in risky behavior.

The CDC’s newest report echoes some of these points, noting that, among other things, sexually active teens and young adults face increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

All of this underscores the important role that faith and family play in the lives of teens and young adults. 

Having a strong faith and a good life at home doesn’t just discourage a teen from having sex. In the process, it also has other positive impacts on that child’s life. That’s something to keep in mind as parents, educators, and policymakers discuss sex-education and related issues.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.