Prevention Works! is recommending an APPROVED vote on Referendum 90.
Referendum 90, allows Washington State Engrossed Substitute Senate bill 5395 concerning comprehensive sexual health education to go into effect.
If approved, Ref 90 would require public schools to provide comprehensive age-appropriate sexual health education. Parents and legal guardians would continue to have the choice to exclude their students from sexual health education. Currently only 60% of public schools provide some form of sex education to their students.
We support Ref 90 because our youth every community deserve honest, accurate and inclusive information that helps make good decisions about sex, to protect themselves and to protect their futures. Too many students in our state do not receive that kind of high quality medically accurate sex education, putting them at risk. Here are a few of the major supporting points:
- R90 gives parents the ability to opt children out if they are uncomfortable with content’
- Every school district much collaborate with its community on curriculum selection via a curriculum committee. There is no one curriculum but the curriculum must meet Office of State Superintendent of Instruction broad guidelines (see below*).
- Nationally, 34% of all sexual abuse victims under 18 are assaulted by the time they are 12, and 93% of the perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the victim.
- Comprehensive sex education includes education for LGBTQ young people that addresses their own experiences, helping them feel seen and valued and reducing LGBTQ suicides.
- Children who are being sexually abused often don’t understand what is happening until someone provides them with the tools and language to communicate it with a trusted adult. Kids experiencing abuse urgently need the tools and language for how to get help.
- High quality and effective sex education starts with teaching students in grades K-3 social and emotional learning for self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. It continues through teaching high school students about ways to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including birth control and abstinence
- Honest and accurate sex education is good for young people’s health. Parents, teachers and pediatricians know that in states with quality sex education, teens are talking about consent, waiting longer to have sex, avoiding getting pregnant and keeping themselves safe.
*Washington State Office of School Superintendent provides an outline of requirements for Health and Physical Education K-12. See pages 28-34