Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

March 27- Governor Jay Inslee made sexual education mandatory beginning at kindergarten- taking away the rights and decision making of parents and local school boards.

The House pass Mandatory Sexual Education legislation along party lines 56-40, with Republicans voting against. A similar bill, SB 5395, passed the State Senate on January 22.

Mandatory Sexual Education was passed despite a recent survey of 10,000 people conducted by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that found 58% opposed mandatory sex education for K-12 students.

The issue of sex education should be left to local school boards in conjunction with local families. Olympia continues to pass legislation that erodes local control and family decision making. We should be encouraging families to be part of the process and the discussion on a local level. Our communities are not “one size fits all!”

This issues is more complex than merely ‘are you for or against the teaching of sexual and health education.’ This is an issue of ‘who should teach it,’ ‘where should it be taught,’ and ‘when should it be introduced.’ I support and believe in the decision making of our local families, local school boards, and local communities.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem and Candidate for the State House of Representation in the 20th Legislative District.

The Law requires:

  • For students in grades K-3, comprehensive sexual health education must be instruction in SEL that is consistent with learning standards and benchmarks adopted by OSPI.
  • For students in grades 4-12, comprehensive sexual health education must include information about:
    • physiological, psychological, and sociological developmental processes experienced by an individual;
    • the development of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to communicate, respectfully and effectively, to reduce health risks, and choose healthy behaviors and relationships that are based on mutual respect and affection, and are free from violence, coercion, and intimidation;
    • health care and prevention resources;
    • the development of meaningful relationships and avoidance of exploitative relationships;
    • understanding the influences of family, peers, community, and the media throughout life on health sexual relationships; and
    • affirmative consent and recognizing and responding safely and effectively when violence, or a risk of violence, is or may be present with strategies that include bystander training.

School districts may choose to adopt the OSPI Curriculum or adopt separate curriculum that complies with the OSPI guidelines. OSPI will review separately developed materials for compliance with OSPI guidelines.

This bill does nothing to strengthen families. It only makes government stronger. If we are truly to break the cycle of poverty then Olympia must empower families and communities.

The ‘birds and the bees’ discussion is a necessary and sometimes uncomfortable discussion for families; but, it builds family trust, builds family connections, and has lifelong positive impacts. My philosophy is to give families to the tools and information for success and encourage the discussions to start locally and at home.

The family structure and bonds must be strengthen by encouraging communication and involvement and providing them with the tools and information. Statistics have proven over and over that strong families give children a better chance at success in life.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem and Candidate for the State House of Representation in the 20th Legislative District.

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