Schools and Sex Ed
Medically accurate, age appropriate sex education for K-12 students reduces the incidence of unintended pregnancy and contributes to the decreasing incidence of abortion.
From the Washington State Department of Health website: "In the 2007 legislative session, law makers passed a bill called the Healthy Youth Act for medically accurate sexual health education. The Washington State law (RCW 28A.300.475) says that medically and scientifically accurate means information that is verified or supported by research in compliance with scientific methods."
Unknown to most of us, the 2019 Washington State Operating Budget (ESHB 1109 Section 501  [h]) required that a workgroup be convened under the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) around the issue of sexual health education. Associated with the workgroup is a public survey, the comment period for which closes tonight, Sunday, September 22, at midnight.
SHORT ACTION ITEM FOR TODAY: Click here for the survey (there is also a link at the bottom of the OSPI website). I encourage you to take a few minutes and fill out the survey before tonight's deadline. It requires no personal identifiers beyond indicating what part of the state one lives in. (For Spokanites I suggest "Northeast.") The statistical validity of such a survey is debatable, but the working group needs to hear from us, not just the abstinence only lobby. (If you want a pdf version to look at before going to the survey itself, click here.)
My attention was drawn to this survey by a hard-to-read article written by Sue Lani Madsen in yesterday's Spokesman entitled "Mandatory sex education should focus on reducing risks, not avoiding consequences" (The paper version's title was "Proposed sex ed standard needs work.") It takes some effort to understand what Ms. Madsen is trying to do. For those who subscribe to Sue Lani's belief system the article was a call to arms. Madsen quotes from Teen Aid, a supposedly national group led from Spokane by Leanna Benn. Ms. Benn, with local anti-choice Ob/Gyn Dr. Alfred Derby (recently deceased), even penned a book, Sex: The Rest of the Story, available on the Teen Aid website. To see where Ms. Benn is coming from visit her Facebook page. Based on posts on her page, it seems likely, Leanna Benn is a relative of Tim Benn (Mr. Benn's wife's name is Shannon), candidate for Spokane City Council for District 1 (NE Spokane), WeBelieveWeVote favorite, and frequent flyer with NW Grassroots, Matt Shea, and the 51st Staters. Leanna Benn is on a crusade.
Ms. Madsen is stirring up the local extremists in a thinly veiled effort to push for abstinence only sex education by flooding a survey with like-minded comments. These people are organized. It is past time for the rest of us to wake up, take notice. Tell the OSPI working group the real majority favors medically accurate, age appropriate sex education.
Keep to the high ground,