Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're in the final week of this year's 60-day legislative session, and the fate of one of the most consequential bills that's come before us hangs in the balance. Senate Bill 5395, which was approved by the Democratic majority in both chambers, would mandate that every public school in Washington provide comprehensive sex education in all grades by the 2022-23 school year.
Currently, the 3Rs (Rights, Respect, Responsibility) curriculum is the only approved curriculum for all grades. In a 4th grade lesson plan, one of the recommended books for parents to buy for their children includes animated depictions of adults engaged in sexual intercourse. This, and many other examples too graphic to discuss in this email, is what's called “age-appropriate information” by the authors of the 3Rs curriculum.
I have received more than 13,000 emails from parents and teachers concerned about this bill becoming law. I share in their concerns, as I believe it would have devastating consequences in both the short- and long-term for parents and children. Here are some excerpts from just a few of the emails I've received:
“Public school education is a sacred trust. We give our children to our local schools for 6 to 7 hours a day—more awake-time than we have with them. In turn we expect the values we choose for our families will not be undermined. Parents, not bureaucrats or OSPI “working groups” empowered in ESSB 5395, are the primary guardians of their children's best interests.” – Ellen, Vancouver
“The content of comprehensive sexual health education introduces concepts far too early and also strays into territory that should only be addressed by family.” – Michelle, Vancouver
“I am concerned that it is too early to expose our children to a lot of stuff that comprehensive sexual health education curriculum is including. A lot of it is opening the door to pornography and sexual harassment of the young mind.” – Yuliya, Battle Ground
When Senate Bill 5395 came to the House floor for a vote last week, House Republicans stood up and fought against it for nearly six hours. We talked about how it would take away our children's innocence, infringe on parental rights, and render local control irrelevant. Throughout the night, thousands of you watched the live stream of the debate on Facebook and encouraged us to keep fighting, which we did until the final gavel came down around 2 a.m.
In the end, House Democrats passed the bill, 56-40. It's now on Gov. Inslee's desk, where he will either sign it or veto it. If this bill gives you any pause whatsoever, I encourage you to call the governor at (360) 902-4111 and ask him to veto it. Alternatively, you can send him an email at this website. I also invite you to come to the Capitol tomorrow to attend a rally being held from 12-2 p.m. on the north steps of the Legislative Building.
If we want to stop this bill, we all need to make our voices heard over the next few days.