Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation Friday designed to give parents more rights over what the lessons and materials used at public schools.
SB 1453 requires school to obtain "signed, written consent'' from a parent or guardian before using a video, audio or electronic materials "that may be inappropriate for the age of the student.''
The law, which will take effect later this summer, also says parents have a right to review learning materials in advance. More to the point, it says a parent can request to withdraw a student from the activity, class or program if the material is considered "harmful.''
It was that provision which caused several legislators to oppose the measure.
Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, said the definition of "harmful'' is overly broad. He said it includes not only sexual content or profane or vulgar language but also "violent content.'' Schapira said that could allow a parent to decide a child should not be taught about significant events in world history, including wars and even the Holocaust.
But Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said the new law simply reinforces the right of parents to decide what is acceptable for their children.
Brewer gave no explanation of her decision.