Here’s The Details of That Proposed Mandatory Sex Ed Bill
You've probably have at least one or more friends who have mentioned about "that sex ed bill" being considered in the State Legislature. It's generating a LOT of controversy.
House Bill 2184 is sponsored and introduced by Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver, the same legislator who wants to legally force restaurants to not publicize soda or other 'surgary' beverages on their kids menus (They would still be available, just not listed on menu).
The Seattle Times has written a very solid piece about what the bill mandates, and what it does not. Currently, Washington state schools do not have to teach sexual education, they are only required to teach students about HIV and AIDS prevention, and it must begin by at least the 5th grade year. The vast majority of schools do not start before then.
This bill, and it's Senate companion, would mandate sexual education, starting, yes, as early as kindergarten. That's where the controversy is exploding...what would be taught between kindergarten and 3rd grade. According to the Times report, school officials, and a state task force would determine what they say is 'age appropriate' material suited for the grade level of the children being taught.
Currently some schools do already offer their own sexual education programs, but they have to be done in accordance with what's called The Healthy Young Act, the materials must be medically and scientifically accurate, age appropriate and inclusive of all students.
Supporters say the program is needed to further educate children about the need for knowledge of such education, otherwise teens will "fill in" the gaps themselves of what they don't know. Opponents say, especially for younger students, exposing them to this kind of material is not age appropriate and something handled best by parents. One parent who testified at a hearing on the matter recently said that one state approved curriculum invites students to go online to search for information about 'their bodies' without also warning them about the dangers of online pornography.
Opponents say the state is overstepping bounds by encouraging 'sexual' discussion among very small children.
A similar bill barely made it out of the Senate last year, then died in the House. Eastmont's Brad Hawkins, ranking Republican on the State Education Committee, voted against last year's sex ed bill. He said the state should defer to local districts and allow them to decide if they are going to teach beyond the current HIV/AIDS required programs.
It is noted that with both HB2184 and it's Senate companion, parents would have the right to opt their child out of the mandatory sex ed classes.
To read the informative piece by the Times, click on the button below.
To see information on the actual bill itself, click on the button below.