SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, thinks the responsibility to teach sex education belongs in the home, not in the school system.
Reid is sponsoring legislation this session to require the State Board of Education offer training to parents regarding sex education. The State Board of Education would be required to develop a curriculum parents can use to educate their children on the subject. The program would be Internet-based and pamphlets would be available for parents who requested them. Educators would also be required to notify parents the program is available twice a year.
The bill comes a year after Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed sex education legislation with an abstinence-only emphasis.
The bill, SB 39, cleared a Senate education committee received a favorable recommendation Monday morning by a 4-2 vote and now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
Reid said he thought the sex ed legislation in 2012 was targeted to the wrong audience.
“It should be focused on parental responsibility. The school system is there to aid the parent. In regards to sex education, too often parents were abdicating that to the State Board of Education,” Reid said.
The State Board of Education opposes the bill, said Superintendent Martell Menlove, who said educators are concerned about taking a role in educating parents. He said officials are also concerned about the ability to write a program that is appropriate for students.
Menlove also raised concerns about the noticing requirement associated with the bill, suggesting that a mailing to 600,000 students could come with the need for another $500,000 to fund it.
Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, said the bill is a bridge to help shift the responsibility of sex education away from government back to the home.
Sen. Pat Jones, D-Salt Lake, voted against the measure, saying the bill places state educators in a difficult position of providing information on a topic parents should pursue on their own. She and Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, voted against moving the bill out of committee.
Reid said he was bewildered by opposition from educators, after working with them on the measure during the summer.
“This is a simple tool. I hope we don’t get diverted by saying, 'It’s not perfect, so let’s not start at all.' ”