FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Jan. 26 2023
Washington students are championing two bills that will be heard by the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee.
Senate Bill 5355 would mandate Washington schools provide instruction on sex trafficking prevention and identification.
SB 5355 stems from years of hard work by Ria Bahadur, a senior at Eastside Preparatory School. She took on this very critical issue and came up with a solution by creating, drafting and negotiating the bill.
“Youth voices are extremely powerful. They deal with youth for youth. We are experiencing society and we are not isolated from these issues. Adults assume that we young people haven’t experienced some of these tricky or difficult subjects, but we have and we are,” Bahadur said. “Education on these topics is so critical and especially education designed by youth, because the current system reinforces societal apathy based on social and cultural lack of understanding around these insidious and rampant crimes.”
Bahadur is also a member of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, which is made up of 22 young scholars from across Washington.
LYAC is the only nonpartisan, youth-led committee empowered by state law to represent the official voice of Washington youth to the legislature.
Together, these young people drafted Senate Bill 5441, which promotes the adoption of school curricula that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.
“Our students are our future. They are engaged and they offer a perspective that we adults do not have,” said Senator Claire Wilson (D-Auburn). “These students offered crucial insights into the needs of their classmates and I am proud to have worked with them to bring these bills to the Senate.”