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Texas Attorney General Demands Fort Worth ISD Turn Over Human Sexuality Curriculum

Fort Worth ISD school bus
Tony Gutierrez
Associated Press
Attorney General Ken Paxton says Fort Worth parents have been denied access to materials from the district's sixth grade human sexuality curriculum.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is demanding the Fort Worth school district turn over a copy of its sixth grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. He says parents were repeatedly denied access to class materials.

That was the case for parents at McClean Sixth Grade Center, who said their kids were coming home with questions about sexuality.

One mom asked her son to bring home his health book, but he said he couldn’t. The mom was told she would have to review the material with a school official.

“The question here is why a child can take his or her math book home but not his or her health book home? This comes down to Texas law and a matter of a parent’s right to have a full inspection of the children’s curriculum,” said Zeb Pent, a spokesman for Stand for Fort Worth, a group that advocates for parental rights.

Clint Bond, a spokesman for the Fort Worth school district, said students can’t take home their workbooks because the material is sensitive.

“If it does fall into immature hands we don’t want that to happen,” he said. “Parents are welcome when they are open, and there’s a campus administrator or central administration. And we’ll put them with the right people so they can review that material.”

Bond said parents were given a letter at the beginning of the school year, notifying them that their children would be taking a health course that would cover human sexuality — and that they could withdraw their child from that portion of the class.

He said the district was surprised by the attorney general’s letter, but that it intends to send the requested information to the attorney general’s office. Superintendent Kent Scribner said district officials will meet on Monday to discuss the request.

“We strongly believe that everything we are teaching in this particular course is within the guidelines of the Texas education code, and we think there’s nothing wrong with it, so I think what we’ll find is that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed,” said Bond.

In May, Fort Worth ISD received another request from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office for materials used to teach its sixth grade health class. Bond said the district has already sent that information.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.