SALT LAKE CITY — A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would offer a sexual education class for parents, who would then decide whether or not their children should be taught “the birds and the bees” in class or in the home.
“I’d like to change the discussion from parental choice, as the value that we honor here, and change the conversation to parental responsibility,” Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, told FOX 13 on Wednesday.
Reid said that under his bill, school districts would offer sex ed classes to parents with varying degrees of content. They will also provide information about how parents could best discuss sexuality with their children.
“I think often the parents choose not to opt out for their children out of sex ed in the schools because they’re uncomfortable providing that training,” Reid said. “Either because they don’t know how to do it or it’s sensitive, or they need training how best to approach that with their children.”
Right now, Utah schools require students to “opt in” to sex ed. Nearly 95 percent of students take sex ed in public schools with parents’ permission.
Earlier this year, the Utah State Legislature passed a bill requiring schools to teach abstinence-only, prohibiting discussion of premarital sex, STDs, contraceptives or homosexuality — even if a student asked. After protests and public pressure, Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed it.
“We’re supportive of parent’s choice,” said Maryann Martindale, the executive director of the Alliance for a Better Utah, which led the protests.
Martindale said she is anxious to see what Reid is proposing, but said that if lawmakers were trying to find another way to push abstinence-only — they would fight it. Reid told FOX 13 that at this point, he has no plans to push an abstinence-only bill. He expected to present his legislation in the interim session.
“This is something that parents feel is important,” Martindale said. “Legislators may have a different opinion, but parents and voters don’t.”