Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

On Wednesday, January 22, Senate Bill 5395, which requires public schools to offer sex education in kindergarten through Grade 12. The legislation passed the Senate 28-21 along party lines with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against.

A recent Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) survey of 10,000 parents found that 58% opposed mandatory sex education for K-12 students. Despite the opposition, the bill passed and was referred to the House Education committee.

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 “pro” and “con.” This is an issue of “Who” and “When”. I am choosing our families and my community first! I encourage all my neighbors to reach out to their elected officials and urge them to vote against this legislation in the house.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember

Senate Bill 5395 would do the following:

  • Requires every public school to provide comprehensive sexual health education that meets certain requirements.
  • Directs public schools to use review tools when choosing sexual health education curricula that is not on a list developed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Requires school districts to annually report the curricula used to provide comprehensive sexual health education.

Families must be strengthen by encouraging communication and involvement and providing them with the tools for success. Statistics have proven over and over that strong families give children a better chance at success.

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

Last year, the State Senate passed, 5889, which just became effective law on January 1. 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. If conditions are created by the home; I could understand exceptions, but the general rule should be to support and encourage healthy families. That is just not happening in Olympia right now.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember
Peter, Holly, Antonio, and Sophia on the first day of school 2019. Solphia entered 3rd grade and Antonio entered 1st grade.

A written waiver to excuse a child from mandatory sex education curriculum maybe available to parents. Whether that impacts education, credits, and time, remains a discussion.

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