Jennifer Heine-Withee and Julia Dawn Seaver, among the founders of Informed Parents of Washington, share their thoughts on Comprehensive Sexual Education and SB 5395
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com
A recent op-ed claimed that students deserve honest information on sex education. They do. And parents deserve honest information on what schools want to teach their children. The outrage displayed in response to SB 5395, which mandated comprehensive sex ed (CSE) in all public schools, wasn’t caused by opponents’ use of the term SeXXX Ed, but the result of seeing actual Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reviewed curricula.
Parents saw lessons that suggest 4th graders look up penis size and wet dreams online and play bingo with sex words; tells 12-year-olds bathing together and mutual masturbation are good for building intimacy with no risk of STDs; and gives a detailed description of an orgasm to 14-year-olds. That’s just for starters.
If the focus should be health, safety, and ensuring students make informed choices, why are birth control effectiveness rates and risks left out of the most commonly used CSE curriculum in the state? Most parents don’t realize kids are being told the withdrawal method is free, always available, and works better than most people think, without being told about the 22 percent failure rate; that oral and anal sex are mentioned repeatedly, but the risks are not; that a sexting lesson video concludes by stating that as long as there’s consent, sexting is “just another aspect of normal human sexual behavior;” or that a lesson on porn has absolutely no information on its harm. (Examples from FLASH and Rights, Respect, and Responsibility 3Rs).
In the name of “affirmative consent,” children are sexualized by role-playing exercises, which desensitizes them and makes teenage sex seem like the norm. Children under the age of consent are instructed on how to “make a decision” regarding sex in scenarios where the kids have typically known each other for a short time, some have already had sex, drink, watch porn, and all seem to have conservative parents who never talked to them about sex.
Proponents assert that CSE will not be taught in grades K-3, that the focus is good touch and bad touch, but that was the purpose of Erin’s Law, passed in 2018. It also disregards that SB 5395 specifies, “Comprehensive sexual health education in Kindergarten through grade three must be instruction in social-emotional learning that is consistent with learning standards …” What is the meaning of Comprehensive Sexual Health Education in that sentence? OSPI still shows The 3 Rs, the only curriculum for K-3, on its reviewed/approved curricula list. The 3 Rs tells kindergartners that “people with a vulva have three holes between their legs with a very sensitive area at the top called the clitoris” and gives teachers the option of explaining the sex act to them, demonstrating what OSPI considers age-appropriate.
Parents have become increasingly aware of CSE being taught in schools: from the 12-year-old girl in Sequim whose teacher said her love of fishing could mean she’s actually a boy, the Spokane school where students were playing “Molest Me Mondays” and other disturbing games after changing their sex ed curriculum, to the University Place girls who spoke of sexual harassment being “the new norm” at school because of CSE. While parents can opt their children out of CSE, they can’t opt them out of schoolyard conversations and the resulting culture change. One of the University Place girls added, “And by the way, opting out is not really an option. Anyone who does that gets teased and bullied even more.”
For two years, proponents of CSE have repeated the mantra, “It’s age-appropriate and medically accurate.” Citizens have now seen the truth and know it’s neither. The majority party in Olympia ignored OSPI’s own survey in which 58 percent of respondents said no to CSE. They completely disregarded the citizens who packed hearing rooms and hallways, sent thousands of emails, made thousands of calls, and overflowed the capitol steps at a protest assembled with just four days notice. They’ve had enough, and when the referendum/initiative process is over, the people will no longer be silenced.
Submitted by Informed Parents of Washington, a statewide group was started by five moms, two here in Clark County (Jennifer Heine-Withee and Julia Dawn Seaver) and three in the Tacoma area. Heine-Withee and Seaver are also members of SW Washington Parents’ Rights in Education.