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Opted Out of Comprehensive Sex Ed? Alternative Health Classes Are Available

A little history of sex ed in Washington and links to resources for information, CSE alternatives, and opt-out forms.

by Lorinda K. F. Newton

For the first time in American history, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) was a statewide ballot measure in November 2020. Washingtonians voted yes on Referendum 90 to keep the new statewide sex-ed mandate, SB 5395, that Governor Jay Inslee signed into law in spring 2020. But those of us who understand the dangers of CSE will continue to fight to protect innocent children from sexual abuse in the classroom.

In 2007, the Washington state legislature passed the Healthy Youth Act , which transferred the control over sexual health curriculum from the local schools to the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Washington’s education department. School districts still had the choice of whether or not to teach CSE in their schools, but those which didn’t were not even allowed to offer an abstinence alternative. Districts that chose to teach sex ed could only select curricula from the state-approved list or create their own that would comply with the OSPI’s sex-ed philosophy, which follows Planned Parenthood’s worldview.

In spring 2020, SB 5395, a bill submitted by OSPI, not the people or a member of the legislature, was passed. It mandates that all school districts teach comprehensive sexual health education (CSE) regardless of a community’s cultural values. About three-quarters of Washington public schools already teach CSE, but now conservative districts must expose their children, K-12, to the ideas of Planned Parenthood and SIECUS, whose new motto is “Sex Ed for Social Change.”

So, what should parents with children in public schools do? First, learn about CSE and why you should opt out your children, and then find an alternative health program for your high schooler’s required health credit.

But My Children Need Sex Ed

Some ask, ‘Why reject sex ed? Isn’t it good for students to know about their changing bodies?’

Yes, teaching students about puberty and the reproductive system is appropriate in biology or a health class. But when it comes to sexual relationships and sexual diversity, parents ought to be the teachers, not schools.

These are values-based topics, and the American public lacks a cultural consensus on sexual morality. While our pluralistic society represents various religions and worldviews, this statewide education mandate only respects one worldview and refuses input from religious or conservative communities.

CSE Isn’t Just Sex Ed

Comprehensive Sexuality Education teaches children to embrace liberal values about sexuality and encourages them to engage in various sexual activities. The International Planned Parenthood Federation states,

Our approach includes an emphasis on sexual expression, sexual fulfillment, and pleasure. This represents a shift away from methodologies that focus exclusively on the reproductive aspects of adolescent sexuality (4).

Family Watch International describes it this way:

CSE programs have an almost obsessive focus on teaching children how to obtain sexual pleasure in various ways. Yet, ironically, comprehensive sexuality education programs are anything but comprehensive as they fail to teach children about all of the emotional, psychological and physical health risks of promiscuous sexual activity. The ultimate goal of CSE is to change the sexual and gender norms of society, which is why CSE could be more accurately called “abortion, promiscuity, and LGBT rights education.” CSE is a “rights-based” approach to sex education and promotes sexual rights to children at the expense of their sexual health.

Not only does CSE go beyond the birds and the bees, but it is also medically inaccurate, not age-appropriate, and fails to meet its goals. See The Institute of Research & Evaluation’s 2019 report “Re-examining the Evidence for Comprehensive Sexual Education in Schools.” You can find the abstract here.

Instead, CSE enlists students into the sexual revolution as sexual rights activists. For instance, Teen Vogue ran the article, “How Teens Helped Secure Washington’s Prop 90 Sex Education Mandate,” describing such activism. This piece contains much misinformation, starting with the title. The ballot measure was a referendum, not a proposition.

CSE also runs counter to the traditional values of many cultural and religious groups. It undermines parental rights and authority by instructing students not to share what they have learned about sex in school with their parents. Children are encouraged to seek sexual health services behind their parents’ back. In Washington, a 13-year-old child can legally receive medical care without parental knowledge.

For more information regarding CSE, see

  • My blog posts on the topic:

    • Danger: Comprehensive Sex Education Ahead

    • Resources that Expose Comprehensive Sexuality Education

    • Book Review: Unprotected

    • Cultural or Authentic Christianity? (I discuss the book Unplanned by former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director Abby Johnson.)

  • Informed Parents of Washington’s curricula samples

  • Parents Rights in Education Washington Resources on CSE

  • Teen-Aid’s list of medical inaccuracies of CSE

  • Stop CSE (international)

  • Child Protection League (Minnesota)

Opting Out

If you don’t want your children to participate in CSE lessons, you must file an opt-out document with your school. You can get opt-out forms for 41 different states, including Washington, from The Pacific Justice Institute. Teen-Aid of Spokane also has a “Human Sexuality Instruction Parental Non-Consent Form” here. These need to be filed annually.

Some children have reported being bullied for being opted out of sex-ed lessons. Keep this in mind as well and prepare your child for this.

However, opting your child out of the instruction time won’t prevent your child from being exposed to the material. The culture of many schools revolves around sexual identity, and discussions of sex-related topics can be presented in any subject, not to mention on the playground, in the locker room, or cafeteria.

Parents of public school students must maintain regular communication with their children to discover what they are learning at school, in and out of the classroom, and to correct their understanding as needed.

Alternative Sex Ed

So, you’ve opted your teen out of health class to avoid CSE. How will your child complete the required high school health credit for graduation? Academy Northwest (ANW) offers alternative health courses that public school students can take for credit that can be transferred to their own school. ANW is accredited through Cognia. Different ANW learning center locations offer online, in-person, and independent study health course options. Some are offered during the summer. All curricula focus on abstinence and risk avoidance.

For example, one learning center teaches a health course using the following resources:

  • Health in Christian Perspective (Cathy Duffy review)

  • Biblical Blueprints for Sexual Integrity by The Legacy Institute

  • Authentic Beauty (Girls) or God’s Gift to Women (Boys)

  • Parents may choose a similar book instead of the required books.

Another learning center uses the complete health curriculum, Total Health by Susan Boe, as an independent study. (Cathy Duffy review.)

Please contact Academy Northwest for more information about enrolling your teen in a high school health course.

Resources for Younger Children

  • Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids for elementary students and a junior version for preschoolers.

  • I Don’t Have to Choose by Ellie Klipp. “…to help young children internalize the truth that God made them just the way they are, including as a boy or as a girl.”

  • The Legacy Institute offers numerous resources on God-honoring relationships and God’s plan for our sexuality.

  • How and When to Tell Your Kids About Sex: A Lifelong Approach to Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Character by Stanton L. and Brenna B. Jones and the accompanying God’s Design For Sex Series:

    • Book 1: The Story of Me (ages 3 to 5)

    • Book 2: Before I Was Born (ages 5 to 8)

    • Book 3: What’s the Big Deal? Why God Cares About Sex (ages 8 to 11)

    • Book 4: Facing the Facts: The Truth About Sex and You ( ages 11 to 14)

Lorinda K. F. Newton began homeschooling her children in 2004, and her family joined Academy Northwest in 2014. Her family lives on beautiful Whidbey Island north of Seattle, Washington. She writes about faith, culture, and governing from a biblical worldview at Lorinda’s Ponderings.

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