Teachers group calls for Gov. Cox to veto bill over classroom instruction of race, gender, sexual orientation

Mar 7, 2023, 6:30 PM
The Utah Education Association is asking Gov. Spencer Cox to veto a bill that deals with classroom instruction race, religion and sexual orientation. File Photo.

SALT LAKE CITY — The state’s largest teacher group, the Utah Education Association, is asking Gov. Spencer Cox to veto a bill that deals with classroom instruction on race, religion and sexual orientation.

In a letter they sent to Gov. Cox, they say it “perpetuates the myth that Utah educators and public schools ‘indoctrinate’ students.”

The bill is HB427. It requires classroom instruction to be “consistent with certain principals of inalienable rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit.”

The bill says those rights include that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, does not bear responsibility for actions that other members of the same race or sex committed in the past; and that an individual should not be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race.” 

Such classroom instruction could put careers at risk

The UEA argues that the bills language is “too broad and undefined,” and say classroom discussions and materials will be left to “interpretation of parents and administrators, placing teachers in an untenable position that potentially risks their career.”

During the Senate debate in the legislature, sponsor Sen. Mike Kennedy (R-Alpine) said the words in the bill are enshrined in the country’s founding documents. He said he “stands by the words” especially when it comes to children.

“With all people, we should teach them with respect and equality, and if we’re already doing that, and we adhere to those concepts, why is there such offence and consternation about putting that in state code?”

The UEA’s letter argues the bill requires teaching “identified principals of Critical Race Theory” which the legislature has taken steps to prohibit from Utah schools. They also say it “undermines trust in public education.”

Possible veto?

KSL NewsRadio asked Gov. Cox about some teachers concerns over this bill on the last day of the legislative session Friday, before UEA’s call for a veto. Specifically, he was asked about teachers concerns the bill was “too vague” with what they could or couldn’t teach.

“I think vague is the key question there,” he said.

He also said this bill was one of the many school curriculum bills where he’s been told many of the concerns had been addressed with the education community.

“That’s what I’ve been told. That those changes happened, significant changes to where the education community mostly feels they’re okay with it.”

As for a potential veto, the Governor said, “There’s always a chance. I need to look at it closely, but my intention right now is not to.”

Today, the Governor’s office says he’s still reviewing hundreds of bills and isn’t commenting on specific bills at this point.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

Sen. Lee's State Director to run for Chair of Utah Republican Party...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Sen. Lee’s State Director to run for Chair of Utah Republican Party

There is a new name in the race for Chair of the Utah Republican Party and its Sen. Mike Lee's State Director Robert Axson.
4 days ago
cox on the pandemic...
Lindsay Aerts

Governor Spencer Cox is running for reelection

SALT LAKE CITY  — Governor Spencer Cox will seek a 2nd term.  The news was expected in political circles, but the governor has now confirmed it publicly to KSL NewsRadio. “Yes. Yes. Absolutely running for reelection,” Cox said.  He added that his bid for reelection in 2024 would be the only time he would seek […]
4 days ago
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks before a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Gr...
Haley Britzky, Natasha Bertrand, Oren Liebermann and Kylie Atwood, CNN

US will still fly drones over Black Sea, condemns Russian downing

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed on Wednesday that US aircraft will continue to "fly and to operate wherever international law allows."
4 days ago
Gov. Spencer Cox is pictured....
Mark Jones

Gov. Cox signs bill that will limit abortions around the state

A bill that will close abortion clinics in Utah was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox.
5 days ago
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Construction above Pineview Reservoir in Eden on Thursday, J...
Leia Larsen, Salt Lake Tribune

Farmers are skeptical about participating in water leasing to save the Great Salt Lake

Like a lot of farmers, Harris doesn’t want to see the Great Salt Lake’s demise. But he’s skeptical he can help.
5 days ago
You may soon be able to get from Provo to Ogden on Frontrunner, faster. Specifically, the federal g...
Lindsay Aerts

FrontRunner may get federal money for more double tracking

Frontrunner expansion and a mid-valley bus rapid transit are projects included in President Biden's newly proposed budget.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Teachers group calls for Gov. Cox to veto bill over classroom instruction of race, gender, sexual orientation