Blog: The Educated Reporter

Utah Governor Tweets Veto of Sex Ed Bill, Rutgers Student Who Spied on Roommate Guilty of Hate Crime

Utah Gov. Gary Hebert has vetoed a controversial bill  that would have made teaching sex education optional in his state’s public schools, and also limited the curriculum to “abstinence-only” instruction.

In addition to the estimated 8,000 letters which flooded the governor’s office, more than 40,000 people signed an online petition opposing the bill, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Herbert announced his decision via his Twitter account: “I just vetoed HB363,” he wrote. “I cannot sign a bill that deprives parents of their choice.”

The language of the bill made Utah look out of touch with what youth and health advocates say is the clear evidence of more than 30 years of research: Students who receive “age-appropriate” sex education that includes discussion of both abstinence and contraception are more likely to wait to have intercourse, and are also more likely to protect themselves when they do have sex.

(As the Salt Lake Tribune reported, to many Utahans the bill was also out of touch with what many parents said they wanted for their own children.)

Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a web cam to spy on his roommate while he was engaged in an intimate moment with another man, faces a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of multiple charges.

The incident attracted the national spotlight after the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, which occurred just days after Ravi had spied on him in their dorm room. While Ravi was not charged in Clementi’s death, he was convicted of invasion of privacy and bias-intimidation charges, the Associated Press reported.

The case also triggered a new law in New Jersey aimed at curbing bullying.

In a statement following Ravi’s conviction, Rutgers officials said “This sad incident should make us all pause to recognize the importance of civility and mutual respect in the way we live, work and communicate with others.”

Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison, and could be deported to his native India (although he has reportedly lived in the United States with his family since he was a young boy).

For more on the risk Ravi took by passing up what now looks like a generous plea deal — it guaranteed no prison time and avoided deportation — read Emily Bazelon’s take  on Slate.



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