Thousands of parents and concerned citizens covered the steps of the Washington State Capitol on Wednesday. They gathered to protest the passage of SB 5395, a “comprehensive sex education” (CSE) bill and to urge Governor Jay Inslee to veto the legislation.
Mark Miloscia, who heads up the Family Policy Institute of Washington, a Focus-affiliated advocacy group, estimates that nearly 3,000 people showed up. This in spite of the fact that Inslee announced a ban on assemblies of 250 people or more, because of the new coronavirus.
Parents were willing to risk possibly contracting COVID-19 in order to protect their children from inappropriate sexualization in public schools. The bill mandates that all schools teach sex ed to children from kindergarten to grade 12, rather than allowing local school districts to make the decision.
Back in February, more than 600 people came to a public hearing at the capitol to speak out against the legislation – only 126 testified in support. Legislators ignored the opposition: The House passed the bill March 4 and the Senate passed it March 7.
Wednesday’s protest was a last ditch effort by parents, as they appealed to the Governor to veto the legislation. One of the event’s organizers, Whitney Holz, said, “We are hoping the Governor will hear the people today.” She complained that legislators simply ignored “the thousands of phone calls, the thousands of emails” from constituents.
Informed Parents of Washington is one group fighting the legislation. They produced a video, explaining some of the reasons they find the sexual education disturbing. One mom said, “When I first started investigating comprehensive sexual education, I was shocked at what I found. I had no idea how deep it went or how bad it was.”
Another mother said, “I began reading all these lessons for children as young as five that talked about sexual intercourse, how their private organs worked, and even introduced pornography to really young children.” The parents note that activist groups like Planned Parenthood are behind the push to require all schools to teach sexual education.
Washington State has approved curriculum for schools that already teach CSE, and groups like IPOW have looked at some of what all students in public schools can now expect. Advocates for Youth is one group that has produced curriculum, Rights, Respect, Responsibility: A K-12 Sexuality Education Curriculum (also known as “3Rs”).
Advocates for Youth’s 3Rs curriculum is approved by the state for teaching kids from k-12. Their website shows the organization’s values, as it proclaims the various campaigns the group is involved in:
- The Condom Collective: “Each year members give out 1,000,000 Trojan Brand condoms on college campuses across the United States.”
- My Story Out Loud: “A digital storytelling campaign dedicated to uplifting the narratives of LGBTQ+ youth of color across the nation by capturing OUR stories, our experiences, our truths.”
- Abortion Access: “Young people have the right to abortion care, and are leading the fight to ensure everyone has access.”
The 3’Rs curriculum is problematic beginning in kindergarten, where lesson two begins teaching children about specific body parts and “gender fluidity.” The teacher’s gives suggestions for instructors of these five and six-year-olds:
You will notice that this lesson refers to “girls” and “boys” and “male” and “female” when identifying body parts. Lessons in higher grades use more precise language and begin to introduce a broader concept of gender. This lesson does, however, acknowledge that “there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have. Being a boy or a girl doesn’t have to mean you have those parts, but for most people this is how their bodies are.”
Miloscia explains that the 3Rs lesson teaches kindergarteners the names for female and male genitalia. The lesson then has students use Post-It notes to identify those parts on a diagram at the front of the class.
A second-grade lesson goes even further to develop the concept of “gender” and suggests that teachers might want to read My Princess Boy to the class. The book describes Dyson, a young boy who “loves pink, sparkly things” and wears tiaras and dresses.
Parents Rights in Education, in southwest Washington, is another group in the state fighting the legislation. The organization links to lengthy reviews of different curricula, including 3Rs. The group highlights a lesson and test for seventh graders, where they are asked to evaluate different activities to see if they are “high risk for STDs,” “low risk for STDs” and “no risk for STDs.” The answer key explains to the 12-year-olds that “no risk” activities include bathing together, mutual masturbation and solo masturbation.
The curriculum goes on to detail a ninth-grade lesson where the class is divided into pairs, and each pair must follow the correct steps to place the condom on a wooden or Styrofoam penis model. Bananas may be used if those models aren’t available.
And on it goes. Twelfth graders look at slides and are asked, “What is the difference between these covers of Cosmopolitan and New York” … “and these covers of Penthouse?” The teacher then compares slides of “health and fitness” magazine covers with covers of “sexually explicit magazines.” The markup of egregious material in 3Rs goes on for 72 pages – and that’s just one set of lessons available to schools.
Rep. Michelle Caldier (R, Port Orchard) said at a hearing on the sex ed bill, “I looked at the curriculum – I’d be happy to read some of the stuff but I know that the chair would gavel me, because it’s completely inappropriate for me to say here.”
We’ll soon learn if Governor Inslee thinks it’s okay for school children to hear language that couldn’t even be read at a legislative hearing.
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Photo from the Family Policy Institute of Washington