Sex education

Nothing gets people riled up like a good debacle about sex education.

And rightly so. Where and when your kids learn about sex should be entirely up to the parent.

So it’s understandable that many Utahns are up in arms about HB363, which awaits the governor’s approval. The bill would ban teachers from teaching about contraceptives, sexual activity outside of marriage and homosexuality in Utah schools, even if a student asks about these topics.

I am all for abstinence education. It is the philosophy we will be teaching my daughter. I am also all for teaching my own daughter about sex. I want to do it in my own way, in my own time and couched in my own set of values and beliefs.

But that’s just the problem with this bill. It deprives other parents that same right. If another mom wants her child to learn about sex via the public school system, that’s just fine with me. In fact, if another mom refuses to talk to her child about sex, then I definitely want someone teaching him about the birds and the bees before he ends up on a date with my daughter with no commitment to abstinence and also completely ignorant.

Sure, the world would be a wonderful place if no teenagers had sex and no teenage girls got pregnant in the backseat of cars. But that’s not real. What’s real is that some kids need to hear about STDs and condoms in a classroom because they’re not learning about it at home. The only alternative, then, is learning about it in the locker room, and we all know how those conversations are just rife with facts and solid guidance.

My daughter is 5. I don’t know if I will opt her in or out of sex education when she gets old enough. I haven’t made that decision yet. But I like to know that it is a decision I get to make, not one made for me by legislators.

What do you think about HB363? Should topics such as STDs, premarital sex and homosexuality be taboo in public schools?



  1. John Charity Spring

    We have reached a time in which it is absolutely essential to teach sex education in the public schools in order to counteract the false notions of sexuality promulgated by the left wing. It would be better if more parents were willing to fill this role as Stewart is, but far too many are too busy wasting time with Facebook and video games to do so.

    Modern movies and television programs created by left wing producers treat sex as a purely recreational activity, with no consequences whatsoever. What is absolutely unconscionable is that these shows are directly marketed to teens and pre-teens. Thus, millions of impressionable youth are being taught that sexuality should have no bounds, and it is normal to engage in any type of sexual activity at any time with any person.

    Our children must have proper sex education in the schools in order to counteract the false and pernicious misinformation they receive from the left wing entertainment industry. Children must be taught chastity, self control, and respect for others. That is the only way they can grow up in a happy and healthy manner.

    • Erin Stewart


      Thanks for your comment. I readily admit I do not know all the ins and outs of this bill or sex ed policy in Utah. If you could shed any light on why my analysis is incorrect or on the bill, I would appreciate it. This is my gut reaction to what I know about it, but I’d love to learn more. Thanks, Erin

      • F

        Read my post at the bottom. It explains why this bill was introduced and specifically how it different from what is currently being taught. Which is not a whole lot. It doesn’t change the sex ed program that currently exists, it closes a loophole that some teachers took blatant advantage of.

      • F

        Read my post below. It explains how HB 363 changes what is currently in place. Which is not a lot. It simply closes a loophole that some teachers blatantly took advantage of this year. Children are still being taught the basics of sex, and the consequences of sex. They are not, however being taught and encouraged to explore alternative lifestyle and techniques.

  2. Paul Mero

    Another conceptual legal problem in your commentary: “It deprives other parents that same right.” Sex education, of any sort in public school, is not a right…not at all the same as your private “fundamental liberty interest” as a parent in your own home.

    • IDMmom

      I think you miss the point. It is a right of each parent to teach their own children. By forcing the parents to all do one thing, that parent’s right is being taken away which is the ability to choose what they would like to teach/not teach their children.

  3. Laura

    To set the record straight, I read the bill. It explicitly states that, “Human Sexuality Instruction may not include instruction in…the use of contraceptives or devices; or sexual activity outside of marriage.” (lines 69-74). Erin’s assessment of the bill couldn’t be more accurate.

    Now: Unfortunately, John Charity Spring is right. For many reasons, parents can’t be bothered to teach their children chastity, self-control and respect for others. I do feel it’s a little hypocritical to say abstinence is the only way, but let’s talk about condoms…. Realistically though, if someone thinks a high school teacher talking about chastity is going to change the minds of children who have been taught otherwise by their parents, friends and the media, they have their head in the sand.

    There’s a lot I don’t agree about our whole system, but as it stands the tax payers are funding our sexually irresponsible teens with welfare programs like unemployment for those who don’t graduate from high school, WIC, medicaid as well as a whole host of other hidden costs. No, sex education is not a right in a public school, but if unwed teenagers have the right to take money from hard-working tax payers, then I think tax payers have a right to demand a more comprehensive sex education.

    Personally, I wouldn’t want my daughter (in about 16 years when she can talk and is potty-trained) on a date with a boy who has only learned about sex-ed from his high school teacher, abstinence only or not.

  4. Momof7

    I pull my children out of sex ed. in the schools every time. I know I can go in and read the curriculum that the teacher will go by but I can’t control what the other students talk about. Fortunately the high school my children attend have an alternate Health Education course that does not include sex ed.

    I am very open with my children about sex. I talk with them often about making the right decisions but I don’t think any teacher can take my place in teaching my children what is right and what is wrong. If my children ever attend a school that forces me to allow them to attend sex ed., I will be sitting in the back of the room so I can correct whatever incorrect ‘worldly’ views are given in class.

  5. M

    I can understand why people are up in arms over this bill. It’s going too far. Abstinence is what I teach my children, but I don’t want them to be ignorant. I think there needs to be more talk about the connection between teenage pregnancy and those programs that we are all paying for. Lets explain scenarios of getting pregnant at 16 and what they’ll be up against.
    Let’s not give another reason for people to laugh at Utah.

  6. F

    Many people don’t understand what HB 363 does. HB 363 does not ban all sex ed instruction in Utah. Currently, teachers teach the basics, the physiology and the facts (pregnancy is a likely result of sex). Currently, teachers are prohibited from teaching kids about contraceptives, sexual techniques, and alternative lifestyles, unless a child specifically asks about those things and then the teacher can teach that one child about those things. It was more or less a loophole intentionally left there by legislators to provide flexibility for teachers so that they could help the kids that needed that information without teaching it to the whole classroom. That sounds pretty reasonable, right?

    However, 3 specific instances in the last year acted as the impetus for HB 363, which closes that loophole. It does not remove all sex education from Utah schools. In one of the instances that prompted this bill, in Orem, a teacher specifically told the classroom that “There is more that you should know, but I’m not allowed to tell you more unless you ask me.” and then sent children home with literature from planned parenthood encouraging them to explore their sexuality with different partners in order to find what felt natural to them.

    This is the type of teaching that HB 363 bans. Rest assured, children are still being taught the basics of sex and are taught that sex results in pregnancy. They are not being taught sexual techniques and values that may conflict with those of their families.

  7. Joan Love

    We had a similar experience to the F post in a different state. After a lengthy and expensive lawsuit, paid for with our taxes, the teacher has been removed from the school. I have read and support this bill. The governor has received an e-mail regarding my support.

  8. IMLDS2

    Paul Mero,

    I respectfully disagree with you on this topic. Sex education is a logical extension of health, biology, anatomy, and other scientific subjects being taught in schools. There is a valid and compelling public interest in educating children about sexuality, reproduction, and the contraceptive choices available today. Abstinence only educational perspectives are either naive or motivated by religious zealotry that has no place in public education policy.

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