Bill mandates controversial 'inclusive' sex ed starting with kindergarten
Lesbian lawmaker downplays inclusivity, claims measure is about "safety"
Last updated 1/22/2020 at 7:13pm
OLYMPIA – A bill that passed the state Senate today, Jan. 22, could mean young public schools pupils will be exposed to "inclusive" sex education.
In a 28-21 vote, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5395 was opposed by all Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch. The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled House.
Under the bill, public schools will be required to teach medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education to students at all grade levels from kindergarten through 12th. The content is also required to be inclusive of gay, lesbian, transgender and other "protected classes."
School districts would be required to have the curriculum in place by Sept. 1, 2021.
The bill's prime sponsor, Sen. Claire Wilson, is an openly lesbian Democrat from Federal Way.
Wilson claims the bill is "about safety," despite it mandating "inclusivity" of alternative lifestyles.
This is the second consecutive year Wilson has attempted to propel the bill through the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
The bill was introduced during the 2019 Legislative session, but stalled in the wake of parental opposition.
Republicans, like Sen. Mike Padden of Spokane Valley, said the majority of Eastern Washington parents still do not support the bill.
"I think it is imposing values from the largest city to our whole state," Padden said.
In addition to inclusivity, the measure mandates curriculum will include education on abstinence and practicing safe sex to avoid unplanned pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease.
Republican Senators argued that the bill oversteps state authority and erodes local control of education.
Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy, voiced concern the measure strips the parental right to teach their children sexual education outside of a public classroom.
The bill allows parents to review the curriculum prior to their child's participation. It also allows parents to opt out their children by writing to the appropriate school board or school principal.