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Sex Ed Bill That Would Have Expanded School Curriculum Is Killed In Committee

Lee Hale
The House office building on Utah's Capitol Hill where the four hour education committee meeting was held Monday night.

A bill that would have expanded options for teaching sex education in Utah schools has voted down and will not make it to the house floor.

The bill was designed to give parents an additional choice. They could choose no sex education for their child, sex education with a focus on abstinence, Or, the new option: curriculum that goes beyond abstinence.


The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Representative Brian King, said the purpose was very straightforward.


King said he hopes to "make it more likely that we will not have unintended pregnancies at early ages.”


Speaking during a House Education Committee meeting Monday night, King said that for students who don't receive guidance at home, current curriculum does not go far enough.


King spoke to a packed room. Utah residents lined up, eager to comment. Including many who felt the bill was a "slippery slope." And that it was just a matter of time before every student would be receiving this new curriculum.


Conversely, many spoke up in favor of the bill. Including Addi Worthington, a 16-year-old who attended the meeting with her mother.


“I’m in full support of this bill because I believe that my generation deserves information from the right sources," Worthington said.


As it came time to vote, Republican Representative Francis Gibson shared what many of his colleagues expressed.


Gibson thanked King for the work that went into the bill but explained, "It doesn’t matter what you put in this bill. No one in red was going to support it.”


The bill was voted down, 12 to 2.


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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