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Bill to update curriculum on AIDS, HIV in Oklahoma schools vetoed

OKLAHOMA CITY - Veto backlash: on Tueday, the Governor vetoed a bill that would require schools to update how your kids are taught about HIV and AIDS.

Now, some are saying that decision is putting your kids at risk.

Representative Marcus McEntire, the author of House Bill 1018 is disappointed.

But, Governor Stitt stands firm in believing the state agencies will update the curriculum even though they haven't in 32 years.

"It's a disappointing thing," said McEntire. "It's disappointing for a lot of people."

Information on HIV and AIDS taught to students in Oklahoma schools is 32 years old.

"It's 2019 and we need 2019 curriculum," said Allie Shinn, with Freedom Oklahoma. "We cannot rely on curriculum from 1987."

Shinn is fed up, along with Representative McEntire.

"Every 30 hours, an Oklahoman is diagnosed with HIV and in 2016, 44% of those new diagnoses were for people under 30," said Shinn.

But, Governor Stitt sent out a statement on Tuesday saying, "Current law mandates State Department of Health and the State Department of Education update HIV and AIDS education curriculum as newly discovered facts become available."

But, Representative McEntire says they haven't done that in decades.

And the State Department of Health disputes, saying that each district decides their own curriculum and "The curriculum must be approved by OSDH for medical accuracy. Any materials currently provided to schools are up-to-date and medically accurate."

However, McEntire says the and only the Department of Health is onboard.

"State Department of Education... we want you to come up with a good curriculum and this is what it would look like," said McEntire.

So, he took the matter into his own hands.

'If an agency is not doing what they should be doing, then I feel it's my role as a legislator to say, hey you guys need to do this and I can either do that with a bill or the media," said McEntire.

Shinn and McEntire say they won't stop advocating until students get the most updated science.

"I don't understand why he vetoed it," said McEntire.

News 4 also reached out to the Department of Education, but we did not hear back.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health's full statement is as follows:

"Each school district determines their own curriculum and it is reviewed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) or the Oklahoma State Department of Education upon request by the school. The curriculum must be approved by OSDH for medical accuracy. Any materials currently provided to schools are up-to-date and medically accurate."

The proposed legislation would have updated terminology and language reflecting the availability of medication to treat HIV.

Governor Stitt's full statement is as follows:

"Current law mandates State Department of Health ("SDH") and the State Department of Education ("SDE") update HIV and AIDS education curriculum material as newly discovered medical facts become available, therefore making House Bill 1018's repeal and replace of statutory requirements unnecessary. With the Trump administration placing a high priority on ending the HIV and AIDS epidemic by 2030, I encourage SDE and SDH to leverage their authority under current state law to work with their federal counterparts, to include the Center for Disease Control, to ensure AIDS education curriculum is medically accurate."

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