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Planned Parenthood Votes Urges Legislators to Pass Sex Ed Bill

Senate Committee Hearing Today at 1:30pm

OLYMPIA, WA -  At the State Senate committee hearing earlier today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) urged legislators to require Washington’s public schools to offer sex education programs.

“The vast majority of parents and guardians expect schools to take on some of this responsibility and there must be some consistency,” said Sara Kukkonen, Planned Parenthood Educator, during her testimony. “And if a student is brave enough to ask a question, we should be brave enough to answer.”

“I know their challenges, I know their concerns, I know their questions. Most of all, I know that our teens want to learn as much as they can so they can make the best choices for themselves and for their future,” said State Senator Claire Wilson (30th LD) during her remarks at the opening of the hearing.

“Sex education is essential to young people’s health, relationships, and life goals. Young people deserve to have the information, resources, and skills they need to protect their health and build their future — without shame or judgment,” explained Courtney Normand, Washington State Director, PPVNH. “In order to prevent sexual violence, coercion, and assault, all young people need access to sex education that includes consent and healthy relationships, starting well before college and well before they become sexually active.”

“Many Washington parents assume their schools are providing comprehensive sex ed programs, but sadly a student’s access to critical information is dependent upon which zip code they live in,” said Normand. “It seems like some school districts are still in the 1950’s and want to avoid sex ed altogether.”

WHAT:             Hearing on SB 5395, Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education

WHERE:           John A. Cherberg (JAC) Building, Hearing Room 1

WHEN:             Wednesday, 2/13/19 at 1:30pm

WHO:               Teens, parents and others, including members of PPVNH, are expected to testify. PPVNH experts available for press questions upon request.

BILL STATUS: Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction, supports SB 5395/HB 1407. The House has not yet scheduled a hearing on the bill.

BACKGROUND: PPVNH strongly supports SB 5395/HB 1407 because it will:

  • Make sex education that is comprehensive and medically accurate mandatory in all public schools.
  • Require that curriculum be inclusive for all students, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Require components on affirmative consent and healthy relationships as part of the comprehensive sex education curriculum.
  • Require school districts to report on the sex education they are providing so that our state can continue to improve the quality of programming in the future.

A 2018 poll found that approximately 3 out of 5 Washington voters support requiring comprehensive sex education and expanding existing curriculum in schools (poll available upon request).

Opt-outs are already permitted for parents and guardians who choose not to have their youth participate; the proposed legislation does not change this.

Sex Education Bill Fact Sheet can be found here.