Sen. Mark Schoesler was sharply critical of the Legislature’s final approval today of Senate Bill 5395, which would require Washington public schools to teach comprehensive sex-education classes, starting in kindergarten.
The Senate today voted along party lines, 27-21, to concur, or agree, to the bill as amended by the House of Representatives on Thursday, following a six-hour debate that ended at 2 a.m. The bill as passed by the Legislature would require every public school to provide “comprehensive” sexual health education (CSHE) to each student by the 2022-23 school year, and require comprehensive sexual health education be provided to students in grades 6-12 in the 2021-22 school year.
“The teaching of sex education is an issue that should be up our local school districts to decide. It should not be mandated from Olympia, especially when it’s causing such an uproar in many communities across Washington,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville.
“In my many years as a legislator, I haven’t seen a bill cause such a negative reaction from the public, especially parents and educators,” said Schoesler. “Just this week I heard from three school superintendents who were opposed to this bill. One reason why they oppose this bill is because it might be an unfunded mandate placed on school districts. This is one of the most commented-on issues I’ve seen. I’ve received more negative emails and phone calls on this bill than any other bill before. These weren’t automated emails that so many legislators receive but rather were sent by people who saw the six-hour floor session in the House earlier this week that lasted until 2:15 in the morning. These people have grave concerns over this bill and so do I.”
“When you have to have that kind of warning on your TV screen for a bill before the Legislature, that tells you how inappropriate this bill is and why it should not have been passed by the Legislature,” Schoesler said.
The sex-education bill, which was requested by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for final consideration. No bill-signing date has been scheduled.
“If people oppose this bill, they should contact the governor’s office and ask that the governor veto it. If this bill is allowed to become law, it will force our school districts to teach sex education to students as young as kindergarten. The Legislature chose not to listen to people on this bill. Hopefully, the governor will listen and will veto it,” Schoesler said.