The group would help select a sexual health program for grades 5-8 to comply with a new state law
BATTLE GROUND – In the fall of 2019, Battle Ground schools became the center of the debate over the role of public education in what children should know about sex, and when.
The district administration board, along with a task force of community members, staff and administrators, had completed a lengthy process to select a new comprehensive sex education program for secondary levels. It was, they believed, a compromise that avoided some of the more controversial elements of the FLASH program developed in King County, while still meeting state demands.
After it was heard of the planned vote to adopt the program, a number of community members and conservative groups gathered, preparing for school board meetings and voicing their views that the program should be adopted. Teaching CSE was nothing more than an attempt to indoctrinate children with a pro-LGBTQ. agenda and included graphic representations of sexual activity.
In October, the board responded by removing the CSE requirement, before making a compromise two months later by changing the current seven electives classes.
This was done on the understanding that the state legislature would likely pass a bill the following year, requiring schools to offer the higher education curriculum at all levels, which they ultimately did with the bill. of Law 5395 of the Senate.
An attempt to overturn that law put Referendum 90 on the ballot last November, but voters across the state ultimately refused to overturn what the legislature had done.
This means that districts will be required to offer socio-emotional learning at K-3 levels, and sexual health education beyond that point, with phased in from next school year and full implementation by the 2022-2023 school year.
The state offers flexibility as to when districts should introduce sexual health education classes, fourth or fifth grade.
Battle Ground Public Schools have chosen to begin offering the Tertiary Education Program in Grade 5 and are now undergoing the process of evaluating a program for the board to approve.
Volunteers who wish to be part of the District Sexual Health Community Advisory Group are encouraged to complete a survey by March 3 in order to be potentially screened.
District spokesperson Rita Sanders said they had already generated great interest from the community.
The advisory group will be made up of community members, parents and staff who live in the Battle Ground School District. The selected course of study must meet Washington Health Education Learning Standards, but the district has some leeway in terms of what is taught.
State law still allows parents to withdraw their student from any sexual health education.
The committee will meet on Tuesdays, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., starting March 9 and ending no earlier than May 18. Meetings will be held through Zoom, unless health restrictions allow resuming in-person meetings.
If you would like to apply to serve on the committee, you are welcome to do so on the Battle Ground Public Schools website.