As parents across the nation speak out against disturbing and sexually explicit curricula in their children’s schools, the fight is also happening in seemingly safe communities across Texas. 

However, parents like Houston-area dad Josh Posey are getting involved—and waking others up—to help restore healthy local schools for their kids.

“You know, the crazy thing is that Waller [located about an hour outside Houston] is by reputation a conservative stronghold. But the more we dig, the more we find that’s an inaccurate stereotype,” Josh told Texas Scorecard. “Big-city problems have found their way into small-town U.S.A.” 

Josh is a lifelong Texan; he’s originally from Midland, worked in the oil industry in Houston, and now cares for the family’s land in the small town of Waller. Josh and his wife have four children, with three of them under the age of 4.  

Who Did This?”

His involvement began when he simply looked at some of his child’s classroom books at the local high school—which contained graphic depictions of oral sex between minors, sexual violence toward girls, and other sex acts. He went to a public meeting and read aloud some of the explicit passages directly to the school board. 

“My student was encouraged to read some of these books in class for two weeks before being allowed to visit the library for an alternative option,” Josh testified. 

“It was a combination of pure shock, and then a little bit of anger—not malice, but just, ‘How dare this come to our little bitty town?’ Who did this?” Josh told Texas Scorecard. “It was amplified because some of our family has in-depth experience with domestic violence and other types of abuse.”

But those books were just the beginning. He began searching and discovering more troubling curricula, like the district’s proposed new sex-education course. 

“Last month, the School Health Advisory Council pushed for a vote to recommend a new health curriculum for the district. This vote was primarily approved by school staff and only a small representation of parents,” Josh began testifying to the board in May 2022. “Please allow me to overview a few of the excerpts from this curriculum. … ‘A student can expect to understand that all people can become pregnant, not only women. … A student should expect to understand how and where to seek out abortions in our community, where to go for low-cost abortions, and what medical issues might necessitate an abortion all under the guise of reproductive health care. … In addition, students will be encouraged to research what the law requires regarding parental notice of underage children seeking abortions.'”

Josh added that this content from the curriculum was coupled with role-playing exercises and student descriptions of sexual acts.

More Alarms

The district even tried to hide one of the curriculum from parents: a sexual violence course already presented to students. 

“​​This district has now refused to allow a parent to review what you have already shown the students. You instead used your attorneys—paid for with parent tax money—to petition the attorney general to rule that a parent has no right to view this presentation,” Josh again publicly told the board. “How can you allow a third party to present anything to our students without vetting the material or making a copy available for parents to review? Our children deserve more thoughtful protection. What are you hiding in this presentation? Why will you not allow one parent to review this when thousands of students already have? How much taxpayer money have you spent trying to keep us from learning what you’re teaching our children here?” 

On top of all of that, Josh heard from his child that he was learning racist ideologies—that some individuals should be punished or promoted because of their skin color—in his English class. 

“Are we just to assume that someone like the principal, a white woman in a position of authority, got there because of her white skin ‘privilege’ she was supposedly born with?” Josh said. 

“I have a mixed household when it comes to skin color, and so this teacher is legitimately promoting the idea that my son should be concerned about his own father because of my son’s race,” Josh added. “I’m completely okay with talking about tough issues—if the teacher is able to stand in the center and facilitate critical thinking on both sides. But when they only present one side, then that becomes the only ‘truth’ they’re teaching.”

Waking Parents Up

Josh eventually began investigating all kinds of other alarms in the district—including out-of-control taxes, financial management, and academic results—and is now organizing community parents to pay more attention to their children’s education.

“Our message isn’t just about bad books and damaging content; it’s about getting people involved and returning the power to the will of the people,” Josh said. “We have to get back to a representative republic and abandon the harmful ideas of a select few elites who govern from a capital far away.”

“If even our local district can get away with unchecked spending on these curricula without audits, what else can we find?” Josh continued. “Look at the books, these are shocking, but look at what else is going on around us. Our education system here in the county is not doing so well, and we’re being taxed like we’re a ginormous district. Something is out of balance here. So I’m hoping that as we start to reel this in, we can teach other people in our community what their role is for keeping a check on local governments like the school district, and that we can inspire people to step up and take action instead of being homebodies and letting things run out of control.

“Because eventually, we won’t be able to support ourselves or live in our community because the taxes will be so high. Eventually, we’re just gonna fall off a cliff.”

Josh said his faith in God is what keeps him engaged in this fight, and that we need morals in life and in the education system. 

“Since our fight started in August, we have found the system has been broken for a long time, and it’s getting worse,” he concluded. “It won’t be possible to fix it by sitting on the sidelines or watching only a handful of people help. We all have to take an active role, and the only way to do that is to have the whole community aware of it.”

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.