Utah groups disapprove of new sex education teacher guide

Stock image | Photo by Designer491/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Conservative groups in Utah have told school officials they disapprove of a new teacher instructional guide for sex education, saying the guide is inappropriate and explicit.

Instructional guides were created addressing specific topics, including sex education, after new K-12 health standards were passed in April. It is the first time since 1997 that updates have been made to the educational health standards.

The Utah Eagle Forum and anti-abortion groups expressed the concerns, The Deseret News reported Thursday.

“Our children have to sit through these unexpected and embarrassing questions,” Utah Eagle Forum president Gayle Ruzicka said.

The state Board of Education heard public comments about the changes Thursday.

In addition to sex education, the health standards cover multiple topics, including mental and emotional health, substance abuse prevention, safety and disease prevention, nutrition and human development.

Teachers are now allowed to respond to student questions to provide medically accurate data and correct misinformation, officials said. However, they are prohibited from answering questions about techniques or how-to questions.

“I don’t understand why the teacher can’t say, ‘That’s outside our curriculum. Please ask your parents,'” said Robert Woods, a father of five.

Under Utah law, students may not participate in human sexuality education without parental permission, and parents may opt their children out of any section of the curriculum.

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