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Bill mandating sex ed starting in kindergarten heads to Democratic governor's desk; GOP opponent blasts 'pornography' taught in classroom


Kindergartners would learn differences between boys' and girls' bodies and that there are many ways to express gender

Democratic Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

A bill that would require sex education in all Washington state public schools starting in kindergarten received its final approval Saturday from the state Senate and is headed to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee's desk, KREM-TV reported.

But opponents of the bill are lining up against it and want Inslee to veto it, the station said.

What are the details?

The legislation states kindergartners would be taught the differences between boys' and girls' bodies and that there are many ways to express gender, KREM reported.

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

Also individual school districts will be allowed to determine how much is taught as long as the state's minimum standards are followed, KREM said, and parents will be able to opt their children out of the program.

What are legislators saying?

"I'm offended at the pornography that we're going to be forced to teach our children," Republican state Rep. Robert Sutherland said as he spoke to the House, the station reported. "I'm offended at what this government is doing to the parents out there."

GOP state Rep. Vicki Kraft (R) said certain concepts will go over students' heads, KREM said. Opponents said that not all children are ready to learn about these topics.

"Do we really think that these types of concepts are going to have people going through consent methods and the boys listening when their hormones are raging because of what they are learning?" she asked, according to the station. "Will they really hear no? Will they really stop? I doubt it."

But supporters of the bill said younger kids need to learn about their bodies and rights and that it's imperative that they understand if someone touches them in ways they don't like, they can say no, KREM reported.

"I can't even tell you the suffering that was going on in my family for generations," Democratic state Rep. Amy Walen said, according the the station. "For all the kids who don't have such healthy families, those are the ones that it is our ultimate responsibility to watch out for."

Democratic state Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self added, "What we don't have time for is to continue with statistics that have continued for years, because we are too afraid to teach anything in our schools, and so as a result of that one in four girls get raped by the time they're a senior in high school," KREM reported.

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