The State Board of Education's curriculum committee on Friday approved recommending changes to the parental permission form for the state's sexual education program.
The changes are meant to clarify issues to educators and parents alike regarding human sexuality instruction. The state board plans to vote on the recommended changes this afternoon.
The human sexuality instruction form allows parents to choose whether their child will receive all information, including human reproduction, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Newly added is cautionary information on date rape.
A second option allows parents to exclude their child from segments of the program with alternate assignments. A third option states the parent will contact the school to discuss and review the materials before making a decision. A fourth option allows the parent to exempt their child from all participation in the program.
Committee member Teresa Theurer, Logan, said she has spoken with teachers who told her generally 95 percent of the parents opt for their child to receive all the human sexuality instruction. "We don't have very many kids at all who are opting out," Theurer said.
This morning the committee also approved recommending changes to the state-required Utah Law and Policy forms, which each district must complete and turn in to the State Office regarding human sexuality instruction.
The changes are general clarifications. The form lists the make-up of the district's human sexuality committee; states whether the human sexuality teacher has received training from the State Office of Education; and includes details on the materials used in the program.
Frank Wojtech, state health and physical education specialist, lauded Granite School District for being especially organized in openly sharing its program's information, including names of textbooks, brochures, guests speakers and members of the human sexuality committee. Granite will be used as a model for other districts in the future, he said.
Curtis Hale, health and physical education specialist for Granite School District, said, "The kids have a lot of questions and we do a pretty good job of following the state guidelines in answering those questions."There's a real need to help kids to get pertinent information so they can make good value decisions about themselves," Hale said told the Deseret News.