Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for March 16

I Support SB 5395 Mandatory Sex Ed

First off, I want to thank The Olympian for its coverage of the sex education Senate Bill 5395, concerning comprehensive, medically accurate sex education in our public schools. I grew up in Woodland, and the sex education I received was abysmal. We were shown condoms, what they looked like on a banana, and were told “just don’t touch each other” -- not nearly enough information to be informed as we entered into adulthood.

Sexual assault is a public health crisis. This is an issue that impacts too many Washington residents, myself included. If we teach young folks about consent, we could have a better society with less sexual assault in the future. Our sex education in public schools needs to be mandatory, medically accurate, and inclusive, so that all young folks have a standard base-line knowledge about sexual health.

The Centers for Disease Control report that young people have some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted disease contraction. This will only increase without mandatory sex education. Be realistic: Teenagers and young adults are not going to stop engaging in sexual activity simply because they weren’t told how. Instead, we should prepare them by teaching how to be safe if they choose to engage in these activities.

Teaching consent, abuse prevention, and normalizing LGBTQ+ health issues will help to build a better Washington. Let’s keep up this momentum -- we need a hearing for SB 5395 in the House!

Ashleigh DeBuse, Olympia

Compassion begins with us

As a college student, I’m thrilled that the Senate recently passed S. 47, which permanently protects wilderness areas in every state in America. I hope members of the House will also support S. 47.

I look forward to seeing more compassionate legislation like this introduced in the future. I imagine many of us are weary of the hostile sentiments that the federal administration has been exhibiting towards our fellow humans and our planet. Honestly, don’t we all want to live in a gentler, more accepting world?

There are numerous ways to take matters into our own hands and treat Earth with compassion every day, from taking public transportation, to planting native plants and trees in our yards, to donating (if we’re able) to reputable wildlife conservation organizations. We can also choose to shop at local businesses and farmers’ markets, eat fewer animal-based foods, and learn how to compost and recycle properly.

The next step is to extend our compassionate activism beyond our individual lives. Let’s talk to our friends and family about how easy and satisfying sustainable living can be. By sharing our acts of kindness, we may have positive ripple effects that we will never know.

Rebecca Canright, Olympia