OGDEN — Weber State University may have to stop offering three courses to high school students if Gov. Gary Herbert approves House Bill 363.
HB 363, approved by lawmakers during the 2012 Utah Legislature, mandates abstinence-only sex education in Utah public schools.
“Based on our preliminary research, two child and family studies courses and one health professions course could be affected by House Bill 363,” said WSU spokesman John Kowalewski.
“Based on enrollment figures from 2011-2012, Weber State University estimates approximately 1,000 high school students take these courses annually.”
The courses, available to concurrently enrolled high school students and identified as having curriculums with some sexual or reproductive content, are Child and Family Studies 1500: Human Development; Child and Family Studies 2400: Family Relations; and Health Sciences 1106: Technology Enhanced Anatomy and Physiology.
Kowalewski said the Health Sciences course is a prerequisite for students hoping to pursue study for careers in nursing, radiological science or other health care fields.
Kowalewski said WSU contacted local school districts to see if HB 363 would impact high school students’ enrollment in the courses, and he believes the school districts contacted the governor’s office.
Herbert has said his decision will be based on what he believes the best public policy choices are. Both opponents and supporters of the bill have been lobbying the governor.
“The governor’s office asked us to review how many courses would be impacted by the bill,” Kowalewski said. “We have been working to compile that information.”
On Thursday afternoon, the Utah House Democratic Caucus sent out a news release about high school students not being able to take the specific courses at Weber State.
“This is horrible,” Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-House District 25, said in the prepared statement.
“This is exactly the type of ‘unintended consequences’ Democrats warned about. Not only will HB 363 strip parents of the right to choose for themselves how they want their kids taught sex ed, but now we’re seeing that high school students are going to be denied the opportunity to take college courses.”