Legislation is like a web. It’s very rare for a single bill to stand alone, almost always a bill is somehow connected to another bill that was previously legislated and signed into law and/or other bills that are currently moving through the legislative process. This makes it difficult for the average citizen to really get a grasp on the laws that are being drafted and passed by their elected officials. This is by design.
With Washington students heading back to school in the days and weeks ahead, it’s important for parents to know and understand what is happening at schools and what resources will be provided to your student, with or without your knowledge or consent.
This year the Washington state legislature passed SB 5599 which allows minor children to stay in a host home or youth shelter if they claim to desire “protected healthcare” services (abortion and so-called gender affirming care) without parental consent or notification. The democrats who championed this bill claim it protects homeless youth who are seeking these services, but that is disingenuous. In 2022, the democrats passed SB 5883 a “youth homeless bill” that allows “homeless” youth to receive healthcare and other services. Washington Republicans put forward several amendments to SB 5883 which would have required professionals and other providers to confirm that the youth was, indeed, homeless. The democrats did not adopt any of these amendments that would have ensured the youth in question did not, in fact, have loving and capable parents.
Rewind to the 2021 legislative session when the legislature passed HB 1225, supporting School Based Health Clinics. According to this law, SBHCs provide a “crucial link” between education and health care. And of course, this law is needed because of disparities created by Covid. You know how the saying goes…”never let a crisis go to waste.”
HB 1225 would provide state funded grants to schools around the state. In 2021 over $750,000 was granted and in 2022 more than $1.3 million. SBHCs are located in or near a school and provide integrated medical, behavioral, and other health care services such as dental care. Today, there are 70 SBHCs around the state of Washington and more than 25 companies providing services to students. The goal is to continue to expand and grow these numbers around the state. You can find the full list of SBHCs here: SBHCs in Washington – Washington School-Based Health Alliance (wasbha.org)
As you look at the 7 core competencies of SBHC it looks very similar to the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. (read more about the WSCC model here: WA will hide children; they’ll use schools to do it – Conservative Ladies of Washington)
With Washington’s laws that allow minor children a great deal of access and privacy to almost any healthcare services without parental consent, the presence of these SBHCs should be on every parent’s radar.
According to the Washington School-Based Health Alliance, there are many benefits to SBHCs, including:
- Increase attendance by providing services on campus so students miss less class time for appointments and illness.
- Reduce barriers to learning by improving student health with preventive care, chronic care, and early interventions in students’ physical, mental and developmental health.
- Increase school connectedness by providing mental health services and coordinating with other student support services in the school.
- Engage parents and community by providing information and services for the physical and emotional development of their children.
- Save parents and employers time by allowing students to stay in school to get their health care needs met.
- Support teachers and school staff by coordinating to support individual students and helping with health promotion and education schoolwide.
- Lower health care costs by reducing emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Another bill passed in 2021 was SB 5030 which requires districts to develop and implement a comprehensive school counseling program (CSCP) for all schools within the district. One of the roles of these counselors is to provide “social and emotional supports.” On its face, this seems like it would be a good thing, however, with the “gender inclusive schools” policy that allows schools to keep information secret from parents and other laws such as SB 5599, this is very concerning. When schools become “one stop shopping” for children, it not only circumvents parents, but it takes away from the purpose of schools, which is to provide an education for students.
According to Liv Finne at Washington Policy Center, “schools failed to meet the standard in teaching math – 70% of students failed – and failed to meet the standard in teaching English – 52% of students failed.” This isn’t surprising considering the strong emphasis on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender ideology and other non-academic issues that have been integrated into every subject. The data is clear that Washington public schools are failing our students.
Washington state government has lost the trust of parents for good reason. Our children are struggling academically. Many students have suffered substantial learning loss as a result of the Covid lockdowns and so far, the recovery efforts are insignificant. We’ve heard lawmakers on both sides use Covid as a reason that we need even more funding for public education. These health care programs are receiving a substantial amount of attention and funding, taking priority over other areas of education funding.
Liv Finne has been watching the education funding in Washington very closely and noted in a recent article: “Only ten years ago, in 2012-13, total education spending from all state, local and federal sources was $10 billion. Today it’s $19.7 billion. The new state biennial budget provides over $33 billion in state operating funding to the schools, plus $588 million more in capital funding for school construction.” The funding is going to the adults in the education system, not the students.
Washington democrats are putting a strong emphasis on education funding and the programs they are implementing in the public schools. We are certainly not against funding education; however, we are against funding indoctrination of our students and circumventing parents, who have every right – not just to be involved, but as the primary stakeholders in their children’s lives, which includes the time they spend at school. We have watched as democrat lawmakers refuse very reasonable amendments that would include parents in many major decisions in their children’s lives. Most of these laws referenced were passed along party lines – but not entirely as Washington has a handful of Republicans who vote for these policies.
Parents must be alert and informed regarding current laws. Many parents are choosing to remove their children from government schools altogether. The risk is just too high. If removing your student is not feasible for your family, please have very open and candid conversations with your child. Most importantly, parents must engage in the lawmaking process – from a local level to a state level and even at the Federal level. If we are to truly have a government “by the people” as our Founding Fathers intended, the people must get involved!