Monday, March 19, 2007

Fun with school laws in Utah

Recent list work: #9, #12 (completed! Most recent 2 mile run was 15:54), #59, #94.

The weather this past week has been interesting. Last Tuesday it was 73 degrees, and it was uncomfortable wearing long pants. Later in the week we were in the 30s again. Yesterday was warm, bright, and sunny. I woke up this morning with snow on the ground--though it was up in the 50s later on in the day. If this turns into The Day After Tomorrow, I claim dibs on the main character whose father is a climate change researcher.

To prevent this from being a completely meaningless post, I link now to an article I read recently in the NYTimes (warning: link will probably eventually expire). Utah has decided to enact really strict rules about what school clubs are allowed to do, which seem quite clearly to be targeting gay groups. However, these guidelines are a bit crazed. For example:
Under the new Utah law, every club will have to complete an activity disclosure statement that itemizes what it will do, and discusses how many members it will have, and whether tryouts are required. It mandates that any student joining any club needs a parent’s signature — though most public schools in Utah require that already — and specifically bans any discussion by any club of “human sexuality.”

The law defines that term to mean “advocating or engaging in sexual activity outside of legal recognized marriage or forbidden by state law,” and “presenting or discussing information relating to the use of contraceptive devices.”

Let's leave aside, for the moment, the fact that unless there are tryouts, it's extremely unlikely that any club can say how many members they'll have ahead of time. I know I couldn't have done so with regards to the math team, for example, despite being the president of that. This legislation would mean, for instance, that high school chapters of Amnesty International would not be able to protest compulsory intrauterine devices as a form of population control. I'm thinking the religious right who are backing this legislation won't really like that outcome. This ends up being an example of the dangers of trying to censor speech you don't like--that which you do gets thrown out as well.

1 comment:

AdamX said...

tryouts for a gay student club... that sounds like the plot for an exciting "adult" film.