#4ThePeople: Your questions answered about Washington’s sex ed bill

SPOKANE, Wash.– The 2020 campaign will play a critical role in education across Washington.

Voters will vote on Referendum 90, which would require all public schools in the state to have a comprehensive sexual education curriculum for grades K-12.

It was already passed by the state legislature, but so many people were upset, a campaign to stop it collected enough signatures to put this to a vote.

Some parents are worried their kids will learn about sex too soon. Others think it shouldn’t be taught at all in schools.

The main goal for the state superintendent’s office is to make sure all resources are available to all students. Some families may talk about sexual education at home, but that’s not the case for everyone.

The curriculum varies by grade level, with a focus on sexual consent.

We wanted to hear from you, so we asked you what questions you have about the sex ed curriculum.

One viewer asked, “If there is an option to opt out, why would there by any fight against this education?”

All parents can, in fact, opt out of the curriculum, but first, they should know what they’re opting out of or voting against.

There have been countless rumors surfacing on social media, saying students will be learning about sex positions. The OSPI has said students will never be given “how-to” instruction related to sex.

Some people have even talked about an explicit, inappropriate book students will need to read. That book is called “It’s Perfectly Normal,” and OSPI said it is not included in the curriculum for students.

They said the book is one of several optional books for parents wishing to continue the sex ed conversation at home with their kids.

So, that raises another question from viewers: “What will students actually be learning?”

That depends on the grade level. Grades K-3 will not learn about sexuality whatsoever. Instead, they’ll be educated about relationships and their own development.

Students in those grades will be taught about respecting personal boundaries, developing healthy friendships and how to understand their emotions.

Grades 4-12 will see a more advanced curriculum built around consent, and describing things like sexually transmitted diseases and human reproduction.

Those are all things students in Spokane Public Schools are already learning. It would also include health care and prevention resources for students as well as bystander training. That would teach kids when to step in if they see violence around them.

The extent of sex ed each grade learns will be up to each district.

So, viewers have wondered: “How this is different from the curriculum in place right now?”

To this point, schools in Washington are not required to teach about consent. In fact, the only related requirement right now is teaching kids about sex offense laws and consequences.

Students are also learning about HIV and AIDS prevention starting in fifth grade.

Spokane Public Schools is one district that may not be impacted by this referendum, regardless of how the vote turns out.

That’s because they adopted a new sex ed curriculum back in 2018 where students learn about the human body in grades K-12.

That info develops as students advance through higher grades.