Sex education could be back in Fort Worth ISD classrooms after a year-long pause.
The school board on Aug. 22 approved a resolution convening a committee called the School Health Advisory Council to review sex education instructional materials. The vote was unanimous.
“Our next steps involve advancing the board resolution to convene the School Health Advisory Council, aligning with state laws, providing the committee ample time for training, reviewing curriculum alternatives, seeking input from the community, and ultimately, enabling them to make well-judged recommendations to the school board as they see fit,” district spokesman Cesar Padilla said in a statement.
Sex ed was not taught during the 2022-23 school year because, in January, Superintendent Angélica Ramsey scrapped plans to adopt materials from California-based HealthSmart. The School Health Advisory Council spent more than a year planning to recommend HealthSmart, which the district uses for its health curriculum.
Fort Worth ISD is looking for a new sex education curriculum that aligns with state standards.
The district made several missteps during the recommendation process. Since January, administrators have worked with the School Health Advisory Council to establish clearer rules and a meeting calendar. The council is filled with volunteers, a majority of whom are parents.
What’s the process for adopting a new sex ed curriculum?
- School board adopts a resolution convening school health advisory council.
- Advisory council must hold at least two public meetings on the materials before considering adoption.
- Advisory council presents recommendations to the school board at a public meeting.
- School board ensures recommendations meet state standards and considers taking action.
“It is unfair to ask a group of volunteers to be tasked with so many responsibilities, be subject to processes in Texas Education Code, and understand both the state standards in health and sex education for multiple grade levels without training and some team building to build trust amongst the group,” Ramsey previously told the Fort Worth Report.
In April 2022, Fort Worth ISD spent $2.6 million on HealthSmart. Sex education lessons were included in that purchase, but students did not have access to that part of the digital curriculum.
School districts are not required to teach sex education. However, districts that choose to do so are required to have parents opt their students in and lessons must focus on abstinence.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 25, 2023, to include a statement from Fort Worth ISD.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.