A bill mandating sex education classes for all K-12 students in Washington public schools has passed the Washington State House of Representatives.
The measure passed on Thursday with the House voting 56-40 after nearly six-hours of debate. Opponents of the bill said the curriculum reviewed by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is too explicit, especially for children below the seventh grade.
“I’m not sure why we’re rushing to remove the innocence from our youth,” Rep. Mike Steele said against the bill. “We put so much on them already.”
Rep. Vicki Kraft, who also opposed the bill, cited a fourth-grade lesson which makes reference to vaginal, oral and anal sex. Students in fourth-grade are usually 9 or 10 years of age.
Speaking to the House, Rep. Robert Sutherland said, “I’m offended at the pornography that we’re going to be forced to teach our children. I’m offended at what the government is doing to the parents out there.”
According to King5 News, the legislation states that kindergartners would be taught the differences between boys’ and girls’ bodies and that there are many ways to express gender.
Older students will be subject to lessons about LGBTQ issues, contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual consent.
Current law allows public schools to provide sexual health education to students, however, it is not a requirement. The bill would be phased in over two years, with the mandate to teach all students grades six through12 beginning with 2021-2022 school year and all students the year later.