Referendum 90 asks voters to approve or reject Washington Senate Bill 5395, which was approved by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor last year. Designed to require comprehensive sexual health education in public schools, SB 5395 was actively supported by AAUW. A vote to approve Referendum 90 would allow SB 5395 to go into effect. A vote to reject this referendum would repeal Senate Bill 5395, which is currently on hold pending the outcome of this election.

We heartily endorsed the comprehensive sexual health education bill that was enacted and encourage you to cast a yes vote to support it now. It empowers children and protects them from sexual harassment and abuse by providing them with accurate and complete information. Affirmative consent education teaches children to seek clear positive consent to any sexual behaviors and to take no for an answer. It gives children the vocabulary to report instances of sexual abuse accurately and permission to seek out trusted adults to do so. All curricula are age appropriate.
Scientific studies have shown that strong sexual health education reduces unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and risky sexual behavior. Studies have also shown that affirmative consent education reduces sexual harassment in school environments.

Approving R-90 will protect parents’ rights to opt their children out from their district’s curriculum and to have a voice in curriculum planning by their districts. The state does not mandate any particular curricula and will approve any that is science based, age appropriate, and meets the general standards required by the law. Making sexual health education mandatory for all public schools ensures that the greatest number of children receive this information for their safety and health.

What You Can Do!

Please let AAUW-WA know about your efforts. Email Karen Anderson, Washington State Public Policy Chair, at advocacy@aauw-wa.org.