The Utah State Board of Education has decided not to support a bill that would mandate HIV education in public schools because of fears the bill would "open a can of worms" with regard to lessons on sexually transmitted diseases, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports. Utah's core health curriculum, which sets standards for instruction in public schools, requires prevention education on communicable diseases in all grade levels, but does not specifically require mention of HIV. The secondary curriculum touches on HIV transmission and prevention information, but parents are currently allowed to opt their children out of the secondary curriculum classes if they find the material objectionable.
The bill aims to require schools to specifically include HIV education in health programs under the core curriculum. But the state school board says the measure is unnecessary because most students in the state already receive HIV education through secondary curriculum lessons. "Though I'm supportive of the concept...I'm concerned that if this comes to the fore, (it's) going to open up the can of worms again," state school board member Laurel Brown said. The bill's sponsor, Democrat Carol Spackman Moss, says she is disappointed in the board's decision. "The bill would give teachers the security of having the law behind them when they teach about sexually transmitted disease, including HIV/AIDS," she says.
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