Proposed bill could change sex education in Washington public schools

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Sex education is something that has been taught in public schools for decades now.

But, it’s still not clear what age that education should start and how much information is too much.

This new Washington state bill would take the guess work out for school districts.

“Doesn’t matter if you’re in a rural or inner-city, large or small, just that every child has the opportunity to receive the same information,” Franklin-Pierce High School Principal Audra Goodman said.

Right now, parents in Washington have the choice to read the planned curriculum and opt their kids out if they don’t agree with it. In fact, many people believe sex-ed is something a parent should be teaching–not anyone in the schools.

“Parents are the best teachers of these matters for all ages,” John Schrock of Airway Heights said. “Parents have the best understanding and knowledge of what their kids will understand and comprehend.”

The bill would not dictate which curriculum schools would use, but it would have to be comprehensive and focus on what consent looks like for all students.

“I wish I had something like this to tell me this is your body, you have the right to protect it,” Andrea Alejandra, a student at WSU Vancouver said. “I wish somebody had told me at an earlier age.”

The goal of the bill remains the same; provide kids with as many resources and as much information as possible early on.

A King County prosecutor even stressed the need for this by bringing up a case he worked on where a 17-year-old girl was raped.

“We need to invest in the building blocks earlier on,” Ben Santos said. “Invest in prevention and teach our young people what in fact consent is, so we have fewer cases like this.”

Spokane Public Schools adopted a new sex-ed curriculum in 2018 where students learn about the human body in grades K-12. The district said the information develops as the students advance through higher grades.