H. B. 2797
(By Delegates Overington, Sobonya, Lane,
Hartman and Armstead)
[Introduced January 24, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Education.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18-2-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to required courses of school instruction generally; requiring the accumulation of one and one-half years of instruction in the study of the Declaration of Independence and other founding American historical documents including the Bill of Rights before high school graduation; and requiring study of the historical, political and social environments at the time these documents were generated; prohibiting study of social problems, economics, foreign affairs, the United Nations, world government, socialism or communism until basic courses in American state and local geography and history are completed; and misdemeanor penalty.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18-2-9 of the Code of West Virginia,1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.
§18-2-9. Required courses of instruction; violation and penalty.
(a) In all public, private, parochial and denominational schools located within this state, there shall be given prior to the completion of the eighth grade at least one year of instruction in the history of the State of West Virginia. The schools shall require regular for graduation courses of instruction, accumulating to a minimum of one and one-half years of instruction, by the completion of the twelfth grade in the history of the United States, in civics, in the study of the United States’ founding documents, specifically, the Declaration of Independence, in the Constitution of the United States, with emphasis on the Bill of Rights and in the government of the State of West Virginia for the purpose of teaching, fostering and perpetuating the ideals, principles and spirit of political and economic democracy in America and increasing the knowledge of the organization and machinery of the government of the United States and of the State of West Virginia. The state board shall, with the advice of the state superintendent, prescribe the courses of study covering these subjects for the public schools. It shall be the duty of the officials or boards having authority over the respective private, parochial and denominational schools to prescribe courses of study for the schools under their control and supervision similar to those required for the public schools. To further such study, every high school student eligible by age for voter registration shall be afforded the opportunity to register to vote pursuant to section twenty-two, article two, chapter three of this code.
(b) The study of the history of the United States and the United States̓ founding documents required by subsection (a) of this section shall include the study of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights, using the historical, political and social environments surrounding each document at the time of its initial passage or ratification and shall include the study of historical documents such as the Federalist Papers and the Anti-federalist Papers to firmly establish the historical background leading to the establishment of the provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights by the founding fathers for the purposes of safeguarding our Constitutional republic.
(c) Before students may participate in secondary level courses involving the study of social problems, global economics, foreign affairs, the United Nations, world government, socialism or communism, pupils shall first have completed basic instruction in geography, United States history, United States government and the government of the State of West Virginia, local governments in West Virginia, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutions of the United States and the State of West Virginia.
(b) (d) The state board shall cause to be taught in all of the public schools of this state the subject of health education, including instruction in any of the grades six through twelve as considered appropriate by the county board, on: (1) The prevention, transmission and spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and other sexually transmitted diseases; (2) substance abuse, including the nature of alcoholic drinks and narcotics, tobacco products, and other potentially harmful drugs, with special instruction as to their effect upon the human system and upon society in general; (3) the importance of healthy eating and physical activity to maintaining healthy weight; and (4) education concerning CPR and First Aid. The course curriculum requirements and materials for the instruction shall be adopted by the state board by rule in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Resources. The state board shall prescribe a standardized health education assessment to be administered within health education classes to measure student health knowledge and program effectiveness.
An opportunity shall be afforded to the parent or guardian of a child subject to instruction in the prevention, transmission and spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and other sexually transmitted diseases to examine the course curriculum requirements and materials to be used in the instruction. The parent or guardian may exempt the child from participation in the instruction by giving notice to that effect in writing to the school principal.
(c) (e) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not exceeding $10 for each violation, and each week during which there is a violation shall constitute a separate offense. If the person so convicted occupy a position in connection with the public schools, that person shall automatically be removed from that position and shall be ineligible for reappointment to that or a similar position for the period of one year.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require the accumulation of one and one-half years of instruction in the study of the Declaration of Independence and other founding American historical documents, including the Bill of Rights, before high school graduation. The bill also requires that students study the historical, political and social environments at the time these documents were generated and it prohibits study of social problems, economics, foreign affairs, the United Nations, world government, socialism or communism until basic courses in American state and local geography and history are completed.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.