Senate Bill Passed To Require Inclusive Sex Education in Washington Public Schools

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Senate Bill Passed To Require Inclusive Sex Education in Washington Public Schools

Source: India Today

Source: India Today

Source: India Today

Source: India Today

Khristine Sandwith, Copy Editor

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     On February 20th, Senate Bill 4395 passed to require comprehensive sex education in Washington State’s public schools. What’s currently applied to the state law is that schools are given the option to teach sex education. When a school chooses to teach its students about sex, it must follow these requirements: Must be accurate scientifically and medically, appropriate based on age, and informs about forms of protection from pregnancy and STDS. These requirements will be confirmed by school districts reporting what it teaches its students to the state. With this new bill, it will include topics about consent, identifying relationship behaviors, and sexual harassment. Regarding these changes, parents will still be able to opt their child out when schools provide sex education. This is something that always given an option when it comes to schools teaching sex education.

     However, not everyone agreed with the bill change. During the hearing for the bill, Representative Vicki Kraft believed that bill’s new passage will cause fewer students to attend public schools and that the new material added isn’t age-appropriate for students, especially a topic about being transgender. To follow, she elaborated that it’ll cause confusion to students and that it isn’t a public school’s job to educate its students about sex in the first place.

     Grace Wark, a senior at Olympia High School and member of YWCA’s Youth Act Board, took part of the hearing for Senate Bill and advocated for this change in sex education. When asked about sex education in the state becoming more comprehensive, she responded, “I’m really happy about the bill and supportive of the bill. I think it’s really important to teach kids about consent, relationships, sexual harassment and assault cause that can help people be more educated, equipped to having sex and having relationships.”  

     To hear more opinions about Capital students, senior Hanna Mead was asked a few questions about requiring comprehensive sex education in schools and her experiences with learning sex education. “There was a lot to talk about contraception for women. I remember spermicide, the T-shaped implants, the patch, the shot. The only one they talked about for men was the basic condom . . . It seemed like it was expected that women would provide the contraception.” When asked what can improve that experience, she responded that she wanted more discussions about male contraception and same-sex relationships.

     With the importance of this bill approval, students will be able to learn about sex in a way that doesn’t shame the decisions they choose, but also a more in-depth understanding of topics that are usually taught in schools. If taught at a young age and with accurate information, statistics of unplanned pregnancies, STDs, and sexual harassment can be prevented. Not for someone making the decisions about sex, but also those around them.