Utah 2017 Legislative Session education bills increase budget, privacy protections

Utah Legislators passed bills to increase education funding and protect student privacy during the 2017 Legislative Session. (Porter Chelson)

Utah legislators passed bills to increase the budget for public and higher education and improve student privacy and protection during the 2017 Legislative Session.

More Funding for Education

Legislators passed several bills that raised the education budget to $1.5 million for the 2017 fiscal year. Another set of bills set the budget for the 2018 fiscal year to $1.7 billion using resources from the Education Fund and General Fund.

Student Privacy

The Utah Student Privacy Act places more restrictions on who can have access to students’ records, which will protect students’ records from being shared with unauthorized persons.

Sex Education

SB196 repeals a bill that prohibited “the advocacy of homosexuality” in public sexual education classes.

Physical Restraint in Schools

HB92 prohibits educators or any school employees from physically restraining a student, even if the student is caught damaging school property.

The bill requires students to pay back any costs of damages. The only circumstances in which physical restraint would be appropriate and legal is if an employee were acting out of self-defense or preventing harm to the student or another individual.

The bill also eliminates the clause that had previously permitted corporal punishment of students if parents gave written permission to do so.

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