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264,000 Signatures in 7 Weeks During COVID Lockdown

“Volunteers from every corner of our state collected 264,000 signatures, shattering the state referendum record in just seven weeks during the COVID lockdown to try and overturn the law,” Wendt told North Snohomish News. “Parents are that upset. The bill was passed under pressure from powerful lobbies and activists. Those activists will now have access to children all the way down to elementary school. They can then promote their 'sexualizing' agenda while circumventing the parents.”


North Snohomish News

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Washington state public schools' sex education proposal draws harsh criticism SCHOOLS

By Juliette Fairley | Sep 4, 2020

Some parents are critical of ESSB 5395, which would require all schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education.

Kimberly Wendt was stunned after reviewing comprehensive sexuality education, a mandated Washington state school curriculum, which she categorizes as radical. “It is neither age-appropriate nor medically accurate and sexualizes children down to elementary school,” said Wendt, a parent and co-founder of the advocacy group Informed Parents of Washington. “After reviewing actual lesson plans, parents fear their children will be exposed to sexual content and pleasure-promoting ideologies in school, starting in elementary. They fear the 'one-size fits all' sex-ed philosophy, which introduces sexual content and pleasure while ignoring developmental differences in children at young ages.”

Wendt was among thousands of parents who protested on the steps of the capitol in March in opposition to ESSB 5395,  which was passed by the Legislature in 2020. The measure is currently suspended due to Referendum 90, which will be voted on in the Nov. 3 election. “Volunteers from every corner of our state collected 264,000 signatures, shattering the state referendum record in just seven weeks during the COVID lockdown to try and overturn the law,” Wendt told North Snohomish News. “Parents are that upset. The bill was passed under pressure from powerful lobbies and activists. Those activists will now have access to children all the way down to elementary school. They can then promote their 'sexualizing' agenda while circumventing the parents.”

Wendt further noted that parents are particularly concerned about affirmative consent, which is defined as a conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity as a requirement before sexual activity, according to media reports.

“How is it legal to teach affirmative consent to children, down to elementary school, how to give consent for sex?” Wendt said. “This is well below the legal age of consent in the state of Washington. Police officers who work in sex trafficking and child sex crimes voiced concerns that many curriculum examples we posted normalize sex at very young ages, mirroring the grooming techniques of sex traffickers.”

For Maia Espinoza, the sex education bill was the last straw and drove her to campaign for superintendent of public instruction, a nonpartisan position currently held by Chris Reykdal.

“As a parent with kids, I have skin in the game, which sets me apart as a candidate for this office,” Espinoza told North Snohomish News. “I’m also the only woman who has run for this position to head our state schools when a majority of our teachers are women. The way that I handle myself politically is very different. A lot of these men want to tell you what's best. They have all the answers but I'm more of the solution convener. I'm not going to claim to have the best answers or the only answers.”

Espinoza believes she is a better candidate than Reykdal due to her background and desire to bring about change to the educational system. A former teacher, she manages and operates an education-based nonprofit called the Center for Latino Leadership and has experience working in Olympia with the Washington Legislature.

“We continue to be very frustrated at their lack of consideration for some of these issues,” Espinoza said in an interview. “This superintendent talks a big game about educational justice and wanting to close the opportunity gap for students but when there's an issue placed directly in front of him by community members, he doesn't care. He knows what's best for you. He doesn't need your help or input. We have been frustrated. I have been personally frustrated in dealing with him and this administration.”


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