SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate Education Committee gave unanimous approval Monday to the latest version of HB286, which adds the harmful effects of pornography and the teaching of refusal skills to the state's sexual education curriculum.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden, said the proposal had been throughly reviewed by a wide array of stakeholders, resulting in an oak tree being "whittled down to a toothpick."
The bill's supporters included Miriam Hall, Miss Springville-Mapleton 2017, whose pageant service platform is “Education on the Harms of Pornography.”
Hall, a high school senior, told the committee she was 11 years old when she was exposed to pornography. She was taught at home to turn off the computer and find a trusted adult.
But other people don't have adults in their lives to teach them what to do. She worked through the ordeal thanks to her parents, but many other children who have experienced the same things live with shame and in silence. Education and public awareness are needed, she said.2 comments on this story
The bill also recommends that local school boards review every two years health data on child sexual abuse, teen pregnancies, rates of sexually transmitted infections and disease, and "the number of pornography complaints or other instances reported within the jurisdiction of the local school board."
School districts and charter schools can adopt the state curriculum or select other instructional materials that comply with State School Board rules.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, recommended that Fawson come up with an online means to present sex education, which parents could opt in to. Ironically, that's what Fawson had proposed initially. He later opted to make additions to the existing curriculum when he ran into issues with the state's procurement laws.