State Senate Candidate Shannon Braddock Calls for Mandatory, Age- Appropriate Consent Language Taught in all Public School Health Classes
Currently only 8 states plus District of Columbia require students learn about consent in interpersonal and physical relationships
Would be first bill Braddock sponsors in State Senate
SEATTLE—Democrat Shannon Braddock today announced her intent to sponsor legislation to make Washington the 9th State (plus the District of Columbia) to mandate consent language taught in public school health and other related courses. Currently, Washington includes consent and related interpersonal communications as part of an overall curriculum design, but health classes—like other curricula—are shaped at the district level.
“It’s overdue that Washington adopt age-appropriate mandatory curriculum standards that provide the language and tools to teach boys and girls simple, important rules for consent and respect in their relationships,” said Braddock. “If elected, I will make this the first bill I sponsor, to help give kids, teachers and parents the tools to have open conversations about these important issues. We must provide our kids—and the adults in their lives– the ability to communicate without fear, shame, or ambiguity.”
Braddock, a mother of three Seattle Public Schools students and working mom, has emphasized the need for qualified women with diverse personal and professional experiences to serve in elected office in the wake of the #metoo movement and Kavanaugh hearings. She views the lack of progress on this issue as a reflection of the lack of women serving in the legislature to bring these issues to the fore.
“I’m running to replace Senator Sharon Nelson, who was a mentor to me in public service,” said Braddock, who is endorsed by Nelson as well as more than a dozen current and former women Democratic officeholders. “But Sharon had to contend with a male-dominated Republican majority for years, where it was impossible to move legislation protecting women and kids. We finally have a Democratic majority that can pass key bills, but we need more women in office to make sure these priorities are actually sent to the Governor’s desk.”
Braddock believes examples like the model King County FLASH sexual health curriculum that is used in 44 states, plus recent legislation passed in Maryland, could form a foundation for Washington. Maryland’s law mandates schools to develop “age-appropriate instruction on the meaning of ‘consent’ which is defined as the unambiguous and voluntary agreement between all participants in each physical act within the course of interpersonal relationships, including respect for personal boundaries…”
“This simple, clear definition builds upon what we teach our younger children about personal safety and respecting others,” said Braddock. “Let’s learn and build from the past year by starting this important dialogue in our schools and homes, and work toward a more open, safe and trusting society.”