Following backlash from parents and concerned citizens, Fort Worth Independent School District is dropping a proposed sex education course that promotes radical gender theory.
Last year, the district spent almost $2.6 million in taxpayer dollars to purchase a middle and high school sex education curriculum from the California-based vendor HealthSmart.
FWISD Superintendent Dr. Angélica Ramsey, who has come under fire for supporting critical race theory, announced the district’s decision to go with a different sex education curriculum vendor in her weekly newsletter to parents. Ramsey explained that the change means students will not participate in sex education courses until next year.
After Texas’ State Board of Education updated the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for health education in 2021, FWISD’s school board appointed a School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) to recommend new sex education materials. The 25-member council, which consists of parents, community members, and district staff, recommended HealthSmart’s materials to the school board.
However, parents across the district soon raised concerns that the curriculum promoted radical gender theory, featured inappropriate content, and did not align with state education standards.
Instead of using the biologically correct terms “male” and “female,” the materials refer to a “body with a penis” and a “body with a vagina.” Parents accused the curriculum authors of normalizing sexually transmitted infections and presenting “responsible sex” as a healthy alternative to abstinence.
Parents also criticized the curriculum’s promotion of “affirmative consent” over teaching “refusal skills,” which they believe encourages students to engage in sexual activity rather than practice abstinence, as the state’s education standards require.
Although students are not required to participate in the sex education course and may only do so with parental permission, parents expressed concerns that the consent forms did not accurately describe the materials.
Parents and concerned citizens voiced their complaints at last week’s district board meeting, where they also criticized district administrators for failing to properly advertise the SHAC’s public meetings, purchasing the curriculum before receiving approval from the SHAC and board of trustees, and refusing to allow parents to review HealthSmart’s materials.
After hearing citizens’ complaints, the board voted to reject the already purchased curriculum.
Carlos Turcios, who has spoken out against the HealthSmart curriculum, welcomed FWISD’s decision and encouraged citizens to stay active in the district.
“I am glad that FWISD listened to our concerns,” said Turcios. “HealthSmart did not follow the TEKS and was unnecessary. It removed basic biology with social justice gender ideology. Not only that, but the lack of transparency that we saw for Healthsmart was also another concern. Despite this, the work still continues against social justice activism in Fort Worth schools. We will continue to organize until we see all woke materials and practices gone.”