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Bill mandating sex education in Washington public schools draws pushback

Senate Bill 5395 would require public schools in Washington to provide comprehensive sexual health education for grades kindergarten through 12.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A group of parents gathered at Mead High School on Friday night to voice their concerns over a new sex education bill in Washington. Senate Bill 5395 would go into place next school year and bring the curriculum to students in Kindergarten through the 12th grade.

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Organizers of the event counted over 100 people who showed up and said the lessons that’ll be required aren’t age-appropriate for the students learning.

Anniece Barker traveled to Olympia during the bills' hearing and has led the push against a change in curriculum.

“The more I talk to people who are in my friend circle and my community, most of them didn’t know what this bill was,” said Barker.

She says as a mother, she’s simply not comfortable with the curriculum that’ll be taught. That led her to form a slideshow of things that may be taught and has begun encouraging parents to question what their students will learn.

“We get an STD lesson in 7th grade and we get to talk about the risk of different sexual behaviors,” Barker said to the audience

Most schools in Washington have some form of sexual education, but the new bill would make it a requirement for all public schools in the state to go over the material in each grade.

The new bill does allow parents to withhold their student from taking any of the courses by opting their children out at the beginning of each year.

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