A much-debated inclusive learning law takes effect on June 6.

Senate Bill 5462 was signed into law in March. This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds), promotes "inclusive learning standards and instructional materials" in Washington schools, according to the bill summary.

Under SB 5462, schools will be required to inculcate in their students a greater awareness of the "histories, perspectives and contributions" of LGBTQ+ people.

The inclusive learning mandate applies to all grade levels and every school district in the state, as well as charter and tribal schools. Educators have until October 1, 2025 to implement new curricula.

NewsRadio 560 KPQ logo
Get our free mobile app

In the eyes of some, history as it's currently written doesn't always give LGBTQ+ people their due. Moreover, says Liias, "Students deserve to see themselves in their schoolwork. That leads to better attendance, better academic achievement and better overall quality of life, ensuring success for all our students."

According to CDC data published in 2021, over a quarter of American high schoolers identify as LGBTQ+. That is a historically high proportion.

Almost from the time of its conception, the inclusive learning bill faced strong resistance, especially from school boards who felt the bill impinged on local control.

In February, the Kennewick School District passed a furious resolution denouncing "sexual agendas and politics."

Despite these misgivings and a complete dearth of Republican support, the bill survived both chambers. The final version of the bill passed the Senate with 28 "yays" and 20 "nays" on March 4.

Outgoing Sen. Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) endeavored last year to make the bill optional; his amendments failed. Hawkins is the outgoing ranking member of the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. He is not seeking reelection this fall.

35 LGBTQ Icons

A look at some of music's queer trailblazers.

Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ