***HB135 passed the House floor unanimously!***
HB135 will be voted on in the House tomorrow 2/10. Please contact your house representative and ask them to support required verbal comment time in school board meetings and other government committee meetings!
If you believe school boards should be required to allow for reasonable public comment time during school board meetings, please let your Legislators know!
Be respectful and kind. Talk about policy, not people. Talk about any personal experiences you've had in being denied the opportunity to give public comment during a school board meeting.
What changed in the New Test To Stay Bill?
HB183, sponsored by Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, suspends the test to stay requirement but leaves open the possibility of its use in the future if, in consultation with the Utah Department of Health, top state leaders jointly determine “that a variant of COVID-19 currently affecting the public education system is of a type that testing and isolation under a test to stay program would be effective in mitigating the harmful public health effects of the variant.”
The legislation also creates another process for schools that want to pivot to online learning because they believe the risks related to in-person instruction temporarily outweigh the value of in-person instruction. In that case, a local school boards or charter school board would submit a request to the governor, Senate president, House speaker and the state superintendent of public instruction.
The application must include a specific time frame and the district’s or charter school’s plan to return to in-person learning. The four state leaders will confer and approve, or approve with modifications, the request, according to the bill.
It changed the 14 day case count to incubation period of the virus wich is currently 5 days.
We see this as a positive step. Our State Legislators have made in-person learning a huge priority. They made unmasking kids for better learning their priority and just overturned county mask mandates. This bill is another step to ensure children have their constitutional right to a quality education. School districts (like SLC) who have historically chosen not to prioritize in person learning can’t just shut down their schools. They have to prove the need. Remote learning is not equal to in-person learning. The legislature knows this and wants to keep schools open.
Update on HB0079 from Representative Ballard below.
“HJR1 and HB79 were both numbered for the 2022 Legislative Session for the express purpose of spurring on continued dialogue amongst the public in Utah regarding Partisan State School Board elections. This legislation will NOT be voted on this year or taken to 2022 legislative committees. For an answer to authority and education governance questions, watch for 2022 legislation titled “Changes to Education Governance.” It gives parents more rights and clarifies the process they can utilize when they have concerns or problems to be addressed, including clarifying how they can appeal decisions at the local and state levels. In November 2022, the public will again vote for state school board members in a partisan race. These are good questions for an ongoing discussion about an important topic. -Representative Melissa Ballard”
SB114 Bill Highlights
There has been quite a bit of misinformation circulated about this bill falsely saying that it would adversely impact teachers. This bill does not apply to teachers or classrooms. It only applies to the curriculum adoption process at the district level. It does not create any addition work for teachers, nor does it have anything to do with teachers posting their individual curriculum for inspection.
If you believe parents should be included in the curriculum review process, email or text your Representatives and tell them to "Vote Yes on SB 114". Let them know you are their constituent and that you want to see curriculum before it is adopted by the school district.
****Salt Lake County Parents: The County Council is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss ending the mask mandate issued by the Health Department.*****
Please email, text, or call to give your input. Be kind and concise. Explain that you are a constituent and how you want them to vote and why you want them to vote that way. If you want them to end the mandate you can use a subject line that says something like, "Please vote to end the mask mandate."
Salt Lake County Council Representatives:
Aimee Winder Newton
**Utah Parents United OFFICIAL CALL TO ACTION** PLEASE SHARE
Share, Share, Share this!!!!
Salt Lake County Health Department issues a mask mandate for Salt Lake County effective tonight.. kslnewsradio.com/1962288
This will affect all schools in Salt Lake County school districts: Canyons, Granite, Murray, Jordan and Salt Lake City.
Everyone needs to text, email or call their Salt Lake County Council Representative to tell them to overturn the order IMMEDIATELY!
Salt Lake County Council Representatives:
Aimee Winder Newton
A rock star group of 30 parents stood up for their beliefs, as everyone in America is entitled to do. They put together this list of books and sent it to their district.
Here is the list they sent to the district:
Here is the letter that was sent:
We are cautiously optimistic that this email addresses an issue where administrators and parents can find mutual common ground and understanding. Prior to Canyons School District pulling some books from their libraries for further review based on obscene and sexually explicit content, we had begun compiling a list of books in Murray that also contain sexually explicit passages and pictures using the District's online catalog: https://destiny.murrayschools.org/. Soon we began to realize that we weren't just dealing with a handful of books - there are dozens and dozens of sexually explicit books in the libraries, especially Murray High, but also the other schools. The non-exhaustive list of over 100 books is attached. As you will see, the attachment contains quotes, passages, excerpts, scenes and pictures that are in many cases downright obscene and disgusting, contain graphic descriptions of rape, downplay pedophilia, encourage sexual obsession and pornography addiction, and groom children to question their gender. We stopped at about 100 or so books - only because we had to stop somewhere and we were tired of wading through filth.
The attached document lists many books, in MCSD libraries, that have no place in the hands of a child and attempt to normalize deviant behavior and attitudes. ****WARNING: THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND EXPLICIT DESCRIPTIONS OF SEX, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, AND OBSCENE LANGUAGE.
Our goal is not to ban books. We want children to expand their minds and have access to resources expressing many different viewpoints, cultures, and ideas. We don't want books removed just because we may disagree or dislike certain ideas, theories, or philosophies. However, at the end of the day, these are our children that we have entrusted into your care. It is our duty to protect them from pornography and explicit descriptions of rape, gratuitous sex, sex between teenagers, incest, bestiality, and body parts in school libraries. Taxpayer money should not be wasted on crude and disgusting smut with little literary or educational value.
The District seems to be very committed to school safety and Digital and Online safety - as evidenced by regular trainings. Is it not equally important for our children to be protected from sexually explicit garbage, that is not age-appropriate, sitting right at their fingertips on the shelves of our school libraries? We want to be clear that we are not pointing fingers at anyone in particular. Many of these books are likely being pushed into our schools from outside sources and we are giving the benefit of the doubt to librarians and others who likely do not have the time to read every book that is approved. Despite the media's rhetoric to the contrary, our school board, administration and librarians do have, and should exercise, the power to make decisions that protect children by limiting their access to inappropriate materials. Supreme Court decisions have made that clear.
We are requesting that: 1) you review the attachment and remove those books that are obviously not appropriate to be in the hands of minors, pursuant to Utah Code 76-10-1203; 2) this review takes place before we submit a separate challenge form with respect to each book; and 3) after you remove the obviously offensive books, we then submit challenge forms for any additional books we feel should be removed, but were not. Although many of these books would be offensive even to adults, we ask that you look at these books from the eyes of a child.
We want to work together, not to grandstand or to ban books, but to do a thoughtful, thorough review that puts children first and protects them from dangerous images, harmful content, and over-sexualized agendas. At some point, it would be nice to open a dialogue about the process/system for the selection of books, including additional, worthwhile books that could be in our libraries. But first, let's focus on removing the obviously pornographic and sexually explicit books.
USBE says "there's no way to protect student privacy."
As the Standards & Assessment Committee discussed what guidance should prevail in Utah regarding Gender Identity, one very critical issue was brought up as a disclaimer: Under the current Administration's interpretation of the law, a school cannot guarantee the privacy of students in gender assigned restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, hotel rooms, etc.
Here is the link to the meeting:
At the one hour and 19-minute mark, USBE Board Members discuss the current interpretation of Title 9 by the current administration.
Here's what was said:
"The purpose of our guidance document is to keep our teachers and schools out of legal trouble, so we need to reflect the current legal landscape. We may not agree with that and there may be things that need to be looked at and that need to be done on another scale to try to address some of those things, but we need to look at the current legal landscape we need to look at what OCR (Office for Civil Rights) is telling us because that's what's going to be enforced right now in our schools and our guidance document can't be aspirational it has to be practical. It has to be here's what needs to happen in our schools to make sure we comply with the law as it is today." Board Member Hansen
"Title 9 is being interpreted a certain way and that there is really no guarantee of privacy, and schools and districts need to be aware of that based on the current atmosphere. I just think we put out a [statement] 'Let me just be clear that this is where the current atmosphere is so you can't be guaranteed this [privacy], so just be aware of that, parents and educators." -Board Member Earl
"This is a gray area of law, there's not a lot of guidance, this is how the law is being interpreted right now. If we don't know then we should say we don't know. We have to be accurate in what is happening in the courts what's happening with OCR [Office of Civil Rights], so we can give our schools the best chance to be compliant and that may be the case, that we have to say, there is no expectation of privacy because of the way the law is being interpreted. I think we have to lay that out." -Board Member Hansen
If this is concerning, or confusing to you, you can contact your USBE Representative and ask him/her to explain it to your further and ask them to consider accommodations that provide single user bathrooms and changing areas with locks.
You can also contact your Legislators and explain your concerns and ask for a backpack bill that will allow you to take your money and apply it to an educational setting where you have more say and control of your child's privacy and safety.