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House votes to back sex ed policy

School districts would be required to offer a comprehensive sexual education program to students in grades 7 to 12 under a bill the Minnesota House passed after an hours-long debate stretched into late Monday.

Representatives voted 79-53 to include the sex education provision in an education policy bill after a sometimes emotional debate.

Supporters said schools should teach students about abstinence and provide information youth need to make responsible decisions about sexuality.

Some opponents said a full-fledged sex education program does not belong in classrooms.

"We're giving them information about things that parents should have the responsibility, the right to convey to their kids," said Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud.

The education bill was approved 85-45 and still must be reconciled with a Senate bill.