By Amy Carney
If school officials and administrators nationwide are so proud of the materials they purchase to educate the children in their schools, why do they have to go to such lengths to hide it?
Last year, Fort Worth ISD quietly purchased sex ed materials for their students at a hefty price of over $2.6 million. However, the Texas district’s newly hired Superintendent, Angelica Ramsey, ended her recent email update to parents stating that the community will not use the high-priced curricula in their classrooms after all.
The Superintendent of FWISD Schools wrote, “The School Health Advisory Council Committee will begin reviewing different options for the Human Sexuality Curriculum once the Board of Trustees convenes them to begin the process. There is not an approved, adopted, or recommended Human Sexuality Curriculum for the 2022-23 school year. The delay will suspend the instructional delivery of the sexual education unit for the 2022-23 school year.”
The 8-year adoption of K-12 ETR HealthSmart Sex Ed materials was quietly placed on the consent agenda for the April 26, 2022, board meeting. Items under a meeting’s consent agenda are supposed to be routine and things that can be approved all in one motion without discussion. Unfortunately, approving $2,577.989.70 for controversial digital sex ed materials doesn’t qualify as routine yet the FWISD trustees approved the consent agenda without bringing it into the light. According to the district parental consent form, students were due to begin taking the sexual education classes this spring.
The lengths FWISD went through to deceive the public and push through their agenda are egregious. For example, on December 10, 2022, the FWISD board was scheduled to vote on a resolution “Concerning Implementation and Enforcement of School Safety Measures.” However, the resolution listed on page 382 of the 388-page agenda was instead about convening the School Health Advisory Council to recommend a curriculum on sex education.
Parents also spoke out at school board meetings protesting the updated HealthSmart curriculum saying the content is inappropriate for school-aged children. Others expressed concern with the district’s lack of transparency, including their inability to review the complete HealthSmart materials. Instead, parents had to call to make an appointment to go in and view the curricula under the watch of a district employee sitting near them. They were also told that the digital curriculum has more than the district would use. Yet, teachers would have full access to all the content, which concerned parents about what might actually be used in the classroom despite the selective lessons they were shown in the office.
Parents and community members are rightfully on alert, considering the CDC promotes ETR as a resource to use when developing, revising, or selecting a Sexual Health Education instructional program. Planned Parenthood also lists ETR as one of their recommended resources available to inform and guide sex education programs and policies.
Parents must use what is happening in Fort Worth, Texas, as an example of what to look for in your local school district. Remain diligent and ask questions about plans for updated sexual health education in your community. Scour the board meeting agendas and look for items placed on consent agendas that must be brought into the light for discussion.