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Inslee signs bill mandating sex education in Washington schools

The bill makes sex education a requirement statewide, with the first lessons starting in kindergarten.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Friday that requires sex education in all Washington public schools, starting in kindergarten.

Senate Bill 5395 requires every public school in the state to provide “comprehensive sexual health education” to each student by the 2022-23 school year.

Earlier this month, hundreds gathered on the steps of the state Capitol calling for Inslee to veto the bill. Opponents said it’s not right to expose younger kids to sex education.

However, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said fears over lessons about the "birds and bees" being taught to kindergartners under the new state law are not true.

RELATED: Hundreds protest bill mandating sex-ed in Washington schools

Rep. Monica Stonier, the bill’s sponsor, said a lot of the fears about the bill are not based on facts and kindergartners would not be taught about reproduction. Instead, their lessons would focus on good and bad touching and the differences between boys’ and girls’ bodies, said Stonier.

Older students would learn about LGBTQ issues, contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual consent.

“We are teaching them the skills they need to have healthy relationships in an age-appropriate way,” said Stonier.

Parents would also be able to opt their students out of the lessons, which for elementary school students would last one hour every school year.