LGBTQ+ School Bill Passes WA Senate, Opposed By Sen. Hawkins
A bill that would teach the history of LGBTQ+ people in Washington K-12 schools is headed to the state House after passing the Senate this past week.
The bill passed the Senate last year but failed to move in the House.
Democratic Senator Marko Liias of Edmonds is the bill’s prime sponsor and one of the Legislature’s LGBTQ+ members.
He said the state has failed to tell the rich history and accomplishments of its LGBTQ+ members.
"We need to tell the stories of the people that have led the way in the progress we have made, and the perspectives of diverse individuals in our community," said Liias.
The bill is strongly opposed by Republicans, led by Senator Brad Hawkins of East Wenatchee, who says school subject matter should be determined at the local level.
"It just seems like the trend is to take discretion away from the local communities and force feed stuff from the legislature onto all 295 school districts," said Hawkins.
Hawkins is the ranking minority member of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and a former member of the Eastmont School Board.
The bill passed by a 29-19 margin with one Republican mistakenly voting in favor of it.
Senate Minority Leader John Braun of Centralia voted for the bill. He said afterwards it was an error but he realized it too late to change his vote.
The bill calls for the contributions of LGBTQ+ people to be taught in public, tribal-state compact and charter schools statewide by the 2025-26 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.
Then by June 1 of 2025 the Washington State School Directors’ Association would be required to come up with policy and procedure models for designing courses and selecting materials for use in classrooms.
By October 1 of 2025, school districts, charter schools, and state-tribal compact schools would be required to incorporate the model policy in the subject matter at schools..
The bill also calls for educational service districts to have an “inclusive curricula coordinator” to assist school districts in complying with the new requirements.
The provision incorporating educational service districts was first part of a different bill in the last legislative session.