On 5 March 2020, a bill that requires Public School Districts to teach comprehensive sexual health education to all K-12 students passed in the Washington State Senate.
The bill would be phased in over two years, with the mandate to teach all students beginning 2021-2022. Its curriculum would require age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education to be taught from kindergarten to 12th grade, although the instruction would vary significantly depending on the classes.
It would not mandate any specific curriculum as the school districts will be asked to set their own syllabus, as long as it meets the existing state standards. It also needs schools to notify the parents when sex education will be taught to their kids and even allows them to review the curriculum in advance. In fact, parents can also decide to opt-out their kids from the program.
“We’re not trying to replace family values; we encourage family values,” said a Democrat, who supported the bill. “We’re trying to teach facts and a curriculum and set some standards for our students.” added another supporter.
The bill also said that younger kids need to learn about their bodies and rights and that it is important for them to understand if someone touches them and they don't want it, they can say ‘No.’ “Parents and communities are critical partners in ensuring that our students are healthy and successful, which is why it is so important that this bill strengthens parental rights. Teaching students how to be good friends, how to say no to unwanted touches, and how to develop healthy and respectful relationships are all building blocks of public education,” another supporter added.
Opponents, however, say that this curriculum is too explicit. They believe that sex education should be restricted to grades 7-12. "Do we really think that these types of concepts are going to have people going through consent methods and the boys listening when their hormones are raging because of what they are learning. Will they really hear no? Will they really stop? I’m not sure why we’re rushing to remove the innocence from our youth,” they argued.
According to the legislation, kindergartners would be taught the differences between boys' and girls' bodies and that there are many ways to express one’s gender/identity. Additionally, older students will get to learn about LGBTQ+ issues, contraception, pregnancy, sexually- transmitted diseases, consent, etc.
In ScooNews’ opinion, it’s a brilliant move and should be, in fact, considered worldwide. What are your thoughts?
Source: The Columbian, The Seattle Times, K5 News
Image Courtesy: wtvy.com
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