Panel Approves Bill To Begin Sex Ed In Kindergarten

Lucélia Ribeiro, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sex ed mandate passes House committee 

Feb 27, 2020

The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA – By one vote, a House committee on Thursday approved a bill to require public school districts in the state of Washington to teach comprehensive sexual health education to K-12 students beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

SB 5395 would be phased in over two years, with the topic taught to students in grades six through 12 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year and to all students a year later. Backers of the bill say it’s designed with equity in mind, to ensure all students get the opportunity to learn.

Several opponents say sex education should be restricted to grades seven through 12.

The bill states that the definition of comprehensive sexual health education for K-3 would be social-emotional learning. Supporters of the measure said that’s already taught at most schools and involves learning about healthy friendships and protecting one’s personal space from unwanted touching.

After the House Education Committee voted 9-8 to approve the bill, it’s headed to the full House for a vote. The Senate already has approved it, but will have to agree with changes made by the House or hash out a final version.

State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle, said:

“Our children are facing a very different world than the one in which we were raised. The type of advertising or even the type of fare that is available on commercial television today would have been censored in my day.

“And so it becomes even more important, I think, for our educational system to focus on what it does, which is providing knowledge and skills for students to navigate into the future, both the one that we find ourselves in with the ‘Me Too’ movement that we would not have imagined even five years ago — but the future that we still can’t imagine that is on the horizon … ”  Read more. 

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