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Lawmakers Blast Mandated Sex Ed Starting in Kindergarten, One Calling It 'Pornography'

03-14-2020
children in classroom

A bill requiring sex education in all public schools in Washington state beginning in kindergarten faced its final legislative hurdle over the weekend and is heading to the governor’s desk for final approval.

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If Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signs the controversial bill into law, one Republican lawmaker believes it means educators will be teaching children “pornography.”

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“I’m offended at the pornography that we’re going to be forced to teach our children,” said state Rep. Robert Sutherland (R), according to KREM-TV. “I’m offended at what this government is doing to the parents out there.”

report from The News Tribune explained the legislation would be implemented over two years. In the first year, students in sixth grade through 12th grade would be taught a comprehensive sex education curriculum. It would be expanded to include all students the following year.

While Democrats have embraced the law, conservative politicians are concerned about the nature of the curriculum’s content.

State Sen. Steve O’Ban (R) believes it’s too explicit.

“Who will decide what is age-appropriate, where there is clearly going to be differences in opinion?” he asked. “Should that be a government-mandated decision from [the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction] or should that be based upon the values of parents as reflected in their school boards and schools? We’ve always believed that the best government is the one that is local.”

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Lawmakers, though, like state Sen. Mona Das (D), whose family immigrated to the U.S. from India, believe the comprehensive curriculum is a good idea.

Das said she was sexually abused by a male babysitter at the ages 4 and 8 years old. Then, as a 16 year old, she revealed a relative tried to abuse her.

“I think people thought they could take advantage of my family in any way they chose to do that,” she explained. “I wish I had this education in school. I wish someone taught me about consent. I wish someone told me that ‘no meant no.’ I know that I am not alone.”

This legislation, she added, would “have made a difference for this little girl.”

So What Would be Taught?

According to KREM-TV, kindergarteners would be taught about the differences between girls’ and boys’ bodies and that gender is on a spectrum, and as such, open to various interpretations.

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Older kids would be taught about LGBTQ issues more explicitly. They would also learn about contraception, pregnancies, sexual consent, and sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

It’s worth noting, too, that individual school districts would be permitted to determine how much detail is taught, so long as instructors meet the state’s minimum standards in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Parents would be allowed to opt their children out of the program.

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