Young people deserve accurate information to help them make good decisions, to protect themselves, and to protect their futures. But today, too many students don’t receive high-quality, inclusive, medically accurate education about sex and healthy relationships, putting them at risk of sexual assault, unintended pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections. In particular, students of color are more likely to receive incomplete or incorrect sex education.
Voting to approve Referendum 90 will uphold the new Washington law (ESSB 5395) that requires all public schools to offer age-appropriate, inclusive, comprehensive sex education. Washington’s Legislature passed the law to expand access to sex education to all students. Unfortunately, the state Republican Party alongside anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-choice groups have put sex education up for another vote by placing Referendum 90 on the ballot.
Referendum 90 has been endorsed by a diverse group of more than 100 medical, education, and sexual assault prevention groups. Sex education serves as both prevention and intervention for sexual assault and rape. Children who are being sexually abused often don’t understand what is happening until someone provides them the tools and language to communicate about it with trusted adults.
This referendum means teaching students in grades K-3 self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. Parents retain ultimate control under Referendum 90 because the law gives parents at least one-month advance notice to review all materials, and parents may opt their children out of sex education classes.
Parents, teachers, and pediatricians know that in states with quality sex education, teens are talking about consent, waiting longer to have sex, avoiding unintended pregnancies, and keeping themselves safe. Vote to "Approve" Referendum 90.