Comprehensive sex education could become state norm

first_imgWashington could be on the brink of requiring all school districts to teach comprehensive sexual health education, including lessons on birth control, healthy relationships and consent.Senate Bill 5395, requested by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, passed by a vote of 28 to 21 late last month in the Senate. It’s currently stuck in the House Education Committee, The Stranger reported last week. Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle and chair of the House Education Committee, has not scheduled the bill for a vote on the floor. The cutoff to do so is Wednesday.Proponents of the bill say it could help turn the tide of sexual assault rates among Washington teenagers, citing research that suggests students who have access to comprehensive sexual health education are healthier and less likely to be sexually assaulted than their peers who don’t.Opponents, including Vancouver’s Rep. Vicki Kraft, a Republican, say the bill undercuts family values, and that conversations about reproductive health should happen in the home.The bill, if approved, would phase in required sexual health education requirements for all grades through Sept. 1, 2021.Current mandates limitedCurrent law mandates only that schools offer lessons on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease prevention from fifth grade onward. But schools can choose to provide more comprehensive sex education. If they do, existing law requires that the information must be age-appropriate, medically accurate and appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability or sexual orientation. Lessons must also include information about abstinence and other forms of contraception.last_img read more