Nearly 60% of voters approved sex education in Washington.
Changes to Washington state’s public education curriculum will be going ahead following the approval of Washington Referendum 90, a veto referendum on the ballot in the latest elections. By a majority of almost 60%, Washington voters have elected to maintain Senate Bill 5395, a mandate that will require public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education to students in grades 6–12 in the 2021-22 school year and to all public school students as of the 2022-23 school year. This was the first time in U.S. history that a decision regarding sexual health education was taken to a public vote.
With this ballot measure passed, Washington public schools will now have to ensure students are taught about a variety of sexual health topics, including affirmative consent, bystander training, and social and emotional learning (SEL). Furthermore, all of the instruction has to be age-appropriate and inclusive of all students, and course materials must be medically and scientifically accurate and drawn from verified sources. Parents will be able to excuse their children from sexual health education if a request is made.
Senate Bill 5395 had already been passed in the Washington State Legislature in March 2020, but opponents of the bill collected the required amount of signatures to put the bill to a public vote during the 2020 Elections. Now that the bill is officially proceeding, Washington state educators can begin phasing in the required sexual health education changes.
[Featured Image Source: Facebook / Seattle Public Schools]