OLYMPIA, Wash. — Voters approved a Washington state ballot measure that would require public schools to teach sexual health education in public schools.
Referendum 90 requires all public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education that is medically and scientifically accurate, and age-appropriate for all students, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
Although voters approved the measure with 59% in favor, the referendum was also met with extreme displeasure from the opposing side.
One group called Parents for Safe Schools issued a statement, saying, “There are still many votes to be counted and the outcome of this important election is not yet clear. And despite being outspent by 15-1 in the campaign by our opponents, many voters knew that this extreme curriculum was wrong for their community.”
Opponents argue the measure goes too far when it comes to teaching younger students about sex. They also say the measure would mean parents and local elected representatives would have little input in determining how they want their kids to be taught.
There is a way laws can be undone. It’s called a Referendum Measure, and by rejecting R-90, the law could be overturned.
The vote on R-90 was split essentially across Washington’s blue count and red county fault lines. In more populated western Washington counties, it passed by a wide margin. As of election night, the measure was winning in a 60-40 split, with most voters saying the law should stand.
The referendum is locally controlled, as there is no state-mandated curriculum. Parents can have their child opt-out, if they choose.
The curriculum would vary by grade level. For students in kindergarten through third-grade, instruction would focus on social and emotional learning, and understanding inappropriate touching and safety.