Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

On Wednesday, March 4, many of us watched 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.

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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 am choosing our families and our communities first.

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

The Legislation will:

  • Requires every public school to provide comprehensive sexual health education (CSHE) to each student by the 2022-23 school year.
  • Defines “comprehensive sexual health education” and establishes differentiated instructional requirements for students in kindergarten through grade 3, and students in grades 4 through 12.
  • Establishes requirements for frequency of instruction through four different grade-level groupings.
  • Establishes new reporting duties for public schools and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
  • Establishes new technical support duties for the OSPI.
  • Requires public schools to ensure that the CSHE curriculum, instruction, and materials include information about affirmative consent and bystander

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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Peter Abbarno in front of his law office, Althauser Rayan Abbarno, in downtown Centralia.

This is not an isolated incident. Just last year, the Legislature passed, 5889, which just became effective law on January 1, 2020. The new law states that our children, 13 years of age or older, can withhold medical information about “sensitive conditions” from you, including STDs, reproductive health, mental health, substance use, gender dysphoria, gender-affirming care, and domestic violence.

Olympia should be providing resources and tools for families to deal with “sensitive conditions” in the home; rather than encourage secrecy. This is secrecy legislation – not privacy legislation. If conditions are created by the home; I could understand exceptions, but the general rule should be to support and encourage healthy families and healthy discussion.

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

We can and should do better. Please consider supporting my election campaign to the State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District at

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