Twelfth District Sen. Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) says he'll continue to fight against a bill aimed at teaching the history of LGBTQ+ people in Washington's K-12 schools.

Senate Bill 5462 (SB 5462) passed out of the Senate on  Jan. 17 on a mostly-party line vote of 29-19 and is now headed to the State House where it failed to move last year after initially passing the Senate.

Hawkins, who is the ranking minority member of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and a former member of the North Central Educational Service District and Eastmont School Boards, says he voted against the legislation due to concerns about the state's broadening control over local educational decisions.

"I think it's a very problematic bill and a problematic trend. I don't want to get wrapped up too much in the LGBTQ+ element of it, but generally speaking there's a trend with a lot of things to erode the local discretion of the school boards in our state."

Hawkins adds it isn't just the "force-feeding" of state-driven agendas that concerns him about SB 5462.

"It's more than just teaching history with this bill. It also includes integrating the LGBTQ+ aspects into all aspects of the curriculums at state schools and appointing inclusive curriculum coordinators at the local educational service districts as well."

The bill calls for the historical contributions of LGBTQ+ people to be taught in public, tribal-state compact, and charter schools statewide by the 2025-2026 school year.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction would work with the Washington State LGBTQ Commission to incorporate contributions and perspectives of LGBTQ+ people in the learning standards at all grade levels by December 1, 2024.

By June 1 of 2025, the Washington State School Directors’ Association would be required to generate policy and procedure models for designing courses and selecting materials for use in classrooms.

School districts, charter schools, and state-tribal compact schools would then be required to incorporate the model policy into their subject materials by October 1, 2025.

Twenty-First District Sen. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) is the bill’s prime sponsor and a member of LGBTQ+ community.

SB 5462 had its first reading on the House Floor on Monday (Jan. 22) and is currently in the House Education Committee.

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