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Fort Worth ISD Drops Sex Ed Despite $2.6 Million Purchase of Materials in April

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Fort Worth ISD students will not take sex education this school year after the superintendent told parents she is scrapping plans to adopt a controversial curriculum that the district appears to have purchased last year for nearly $2.6 million.

Superintendent Angélica Ramsey made the announcement at the end of her weekly newsletter sent Jan. 27. She told parents the district is restarting its curriculum adoption process. For nearly a year, administrators planned to re-adopt instructional materials from California-based HealthSmart.

In April, the Fort Worth ISD school board approved a nearly $2.6 million purchase of new digital-only instructional materials from HealthSmart. Trustees did not discuss the purchase. The purchase was part of the consent agenda, a list of items considered routine that can be approved in one motion.

District spokesperson Claudia Garibay did not respond to a dozen questions from the Fort Worth Report by publication time.

Angélica Ramsey, the new Fort Worth ISD superintendent, talks to reporters after the school board hired her during a special meeting on Sept. 20, 2022. (Jacob Sanchez | Fort Worth Report)

“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,” Ramsey wrote to parents.

Students whose parents opt them into sex education were expected to take the course later in spring semester, according to the district. Consent forms had a due date of Feb. 28.

The School Health Advisory Council — the school board-appointed, 26-member committee reviewing sex education — is expected to examine different options for Fort Worth ISD’s next curriculum, Ramsey said.

Ramsey’s announcement comes after a Jan. 24 school board meeting that saw dozens of residents and parents speak out against the HealthSmart curriculum, which the district has used since 2014. The Report filed an open records request for the proposed curriculum.

Fort Worth ISD bought HealthSmart’s instructional materials for all grade levels. Sex education is included in lessons for middle school and high school, according to HealthSmart.

State law requires school board members to make decisions on sex education curriculum, the Texas Education Agency told the Report.

‘Superintendent inherited a situation’

State Board of Education member Pat Hardy wants to see Fort Worth ISD succeed. However, as she watched the district attempt to adopt HealthSmart, she did not see administrators being transparent nor working with parents enough to make an informed decision, she told the Report.

Pat Hardy is a member of the State Board of Education. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Hardy, a Republican who represents west Tarrant County, criticized Fort Worth ISD’s sex education curriculum adoption in a recent opinion article. All Fort Worth ISD needed to do was follow the process outlined in state law, Hardy said.

Hardy blamed Fort Worth ISD’s previous leadership for its sex education issues. Ramsey has been superintendent since late September; she replaced Kent Scribner.

“The superintendent inherited a situation that was going on before she got here,” Hardy said.

Hardy praised Ramsey for telling parents her plans to get Fort Worth ISD’s next sex education curriculum right and to follow state law.

“My hat’s off to her,” Hardy said.

What has happened, so far

New sex education curriculum standards were introduced in 2020. Without state-aligned materials, Fort Worth ISD cannot teach sex education.

What is the process for adopting a sex education curriculum?

Texas law and Fort Worth ISD school board policy detail the process for adopting new instructional materials for sex education. Here’s what the district’s policy, which aligns with state law, says:

The following process shall apply regarding the adoption of curriculum materials for the district’s human sexuality instruction:

  1. The school board shall adopt a resolution convening the district’s school health advisory council to recommend curriculum materials for the instruction.
  2. The advisory council shall hold at least two public meetings on the curriculum materials before adopting recommendations to present to the board.
  3. The advisory council recommendations must comply with the instructional content requirements in law, be suitable for the subject and grade level for which the materials are intended, and be reviewed by academic experts in the subject and grade level for which the materials are intended.
  4. The advisory council shall present its recommendations to the Board at a public meeting.
  5. After the school board ensures the recommendations from the advisory council meet the standards in law, the board shall take action on the recommendations by a record vote at a public meeting.

Texas school districts are not required to teach sex education. Districts that choose to do so are required to have parents opt their students into the course.

The State Board of Education recommended school districts use sex education curriculum for middle school students from publisher Goodheart-Wilcox. However, the state board did not make it mandatory.

In early January, the school board stopped the School Health Advisory Council’s review of sex education curriculum.

At that same meeting, trustees also rescinded a December resolution directing the council to officially convene and hold two public meetings before offering a curriculum recommendation. When trustees OK’d the resolution in December, its agenda item had the wrong title. It was “approve resolution concerning implementation and enforcement of school safety measures.” District officials blamed the mistake on a clerical error.

The School Health Advisory Council worked on recommending HealthSmart to the school board since September. Garibay described that work as “informational,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Two public meetings were held Sept. 6 and 7. Agendas for those meetings were not publicly available Jan. 26, and no minutes were posted. On Oct. 12, the School Health Advisory Council voted to recommend the proposed sex education curriculum to the school board, according to minutes of the meeting.

However, school board records show trustees did not consider a resolution convening the School Health Advisory Council to begin the sex education review process. The resolution is the first step toward adopting a new curriculum, according to board policy.

Another meeting was held Nov. 5 when 15 new council members, who were appointed in October, participated for the first time. The council again voted to recommend the curriculum; minutes of the meeting were not available on the district’s site.

No complaints about Fort Worth ISD’s sex education curriculum have been filed with TEA, according to agency officials.

For the past few months, Hardy has heard from her constituents about Fort Worth ISD. Most of the comments, she said, focus on one thing the district should be doing: Be transparent.

“They’re tired of things not coming to the forefront,” Hardy said. “They just want Fort Worth ISD to be honest.”

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at jacob.sanchez@fortworthreport.org 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.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

 

Top image via Shutterstock

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‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’: RNC’s ‘Chilling’ MAGA Chant Echoes Trump – and ‘1930’s Germany’

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Echoing Donald Trump’s fist-pumping and shout immediately after his ear was nicked by a would-be assassin who killed an innocent bystander Saturday, attendees on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Monday broke out into chants, yelling, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

“Having finished the prayer and pledge, and rendition of ‘God Bless America,'” LaPolitics Weekly editor and publisher Jeremy Alford reported, “RNC delegates almost immediately begin chanting the same war cry @realDonaldTrump emitted upon being shot: ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ ”

Baptist minister Brian Kaylor, who has a PhD in political communication, is the author or co-author of five books, including “Sacramental Politics: Religious Worship as Political Action,” and “Baptizing America: How Mainline Protestants Helped Build Christian Nationalism.”

He writes: “Delegates yelling ‘fight!’ during RNC shows the danger of what Trump’s instinct was on Saturday.”

READ MORE: Was Trump Hit by a Bullet or Not? Calls Mount for Campaign to Release Medical Records

Attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah posted a short clip of the moment, remarking: “Bone chilling to see at #RNCConvention people chanting ‘Fight’ in unison with one arm punching in the air. Instantly conjures up rallies from 1930’s Germany. There is no other way to put it.”

The fist-pumping is very visible in the bottom portion of the frame:

Author Stephen Beschloss responded: “Here’s the Trump Republican Party’s ‘unity’ message: Fight.”

Professor of history and fascism and authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat also responded, writing: “You know what to do, Americans. We can avoid this nightmare. Never become resigned or fatalistic. That’s what they want.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein, also an NBC News/MSNBC contributor, also posted a clip, and remarked: “Expect to hear this a lot this week.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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Was Trump Hit by a Bullet or Not? Calls Mount for Campaign to Release Medical Records

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Critics are calling for Donald Trump’s campaign to release his medical records in the wake of Saturday’s attempted assassination, noting that no physician has gone on record to give the American people any information, which some are saying is a lack of transparency.

Trump has stated he was wounded by the shooter’s bullet, but reports have also stated the bleeding on his right ear was from shards of glass from his teleprompter.

“Trump has posted that his ear was pierced by a bullet, but the sad fact is that he’s an unreliable source. News organizations need to wait for more credible confirmation of what happened,” wrote journalist Steven Beschloss on Saturday.

“Why haven’t we heard from the medical staff or others confirming whether Trump was or wasn’t hit by a bullet?” he asked Monday, adding, “If indeed Trump was cut by a piece of glass, then all the talk that he was shot is factually wrong. This needs to be clarified by the authorities involved, no matter whether it contradicts the Trump narrative.”

Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg on Monday asked, “What is Trump hiding?”

READ MORE: ‘Just the First Step’: Trump Declares ‘Uniting Our Nation’ Means Ending All Cases Against Him

“Did Trump actually get shot in the ear? If that’s the case, why has he not released the medical report & images of the wound? Why should we trust the most successful liar & con man of all time, who has lied about all his medical records so far?”

Professor of journalism Jeff Jarvis on Monday also asked, “why have we not seen a medical report from the hospital that treated Trump? Why have we not seen reporters vocally demanding it?”

He added: “Let’s at least try to demand transparency from the campaign and doctors. I don’t see anyone trying.”

“Trump was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital close to where the attack happened, but no details have been officially released,” The Daily Beast reported Monday.

Calling it a “Mystery,”  The Beast reports, “the Trump camp has not disclosed what kinds of tests the former president underwent, how he was treated and for what types of injuries, and if there will be follow-ups. While such details may seem insignificant, the American public tends to expect maximum clarity about presidential health, as the public storm over President Joe Biden’s mental acuity, one led by members of his own party, demonstrated.”

The lack of transparency into Trump’s health after the assassination attempt is in line with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s refusal to release full information surrounding his overall health in general.

While President Joe Biden has released a good deal of data from his doctors on his health, Trump has released very little.

READ MORE: As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

In 2020, when then-President Trump contracted COVID, reporters demanded information from doctors, which was very limited at first, and, as CNN reported, “created confusion.” Part of that confusion was in the timeline of events. It has been reported that Trump, according to at least three of his close aides, had tested positive for the deadly coronavirus just days before one of the 2020 presidential debates, and appeared just feet way from his opponent, now President Joe Biden without announcing his status.

Trump has a history of hiding his medical status.

Even before he was elected, in 2015, Trump only a provided a short letter from Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, who later revealed Trump had dictated to the doctor what to write.

“He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN in 2018. “I just made it up as I went along.”

NBC News in 2018 reported that Bornstein also revealed Trump’s team had “raided” his office and removed all his medical records.

“Bornstein told NBC News that he felt ‘raped, frightened and sad’ when Keith Schiller and another ‘large man’ came to his office to collect the president’s records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump’s bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

 

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‘Just the First Step’: Trump Declares ‘Uniting Our Nation’ Means Ending All Cases Against Him

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Donald Trump, declaring his surviving Saturday’s attempted assassination a “miracle,” reportedly has changed his upcoming address to this week’s Republican National Convention to promoting “unity.” But unlike President Joe Biden’s Oval Office speech Sunday night urging America come together, the ex-president is defining national unity as everyone agreeing all legal and civil cases against him are baseless “Witch Hunts.”

Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 20-year old registered Republican with an AR-15 style rifle unloaded eight bullets in the ex-president’s direction, causing his ear to be grazed, possibly by schraptnal or glass, while killing a 50-year old supporter at a rally in the stands behind him, Trump posted just two words to his Truth Social account: “UNITE AMERICA!”

“The former president has told multiple outlets he wants to focus on unifying the country after surviving an assassination attempt,” Rolling Stone reports. “As Trump’s allies and other prominent Republican commentators attempt to weaponize the shooting into a political cudgel against Democrats to silence criticism of Trump and his track record endorsing political violence, it may only be a matter of time before the former president slips back into his old habits.”

Monday morning, barely one hour after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in Florida, handed down her ruling entirely dismissing the Espionage Act/classified documents case against the ex-president, Trump expanded on his definition of unity: ending “ALL the Witch Hunts.”

RELATED: As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

“As we move forward in Uniting our Nation after the horrific events on Saturday, this dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts — The January 6th Hoax in Washington, D.C., the Manhattan D.A.’s Zombie Case, the New York A.G. Scam, Fake Claims about a woman I never met (a decades old photo in a line with her then husband does not count), and the Georgia ‘Perfect’ Phone Call charges. The Democrat Justice Department coordinated ALL of these Political Attacks, which are an Election Interference conspiracy against Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, ME. Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System, and Make America Great Again!”

Veteran journalist Brian J. Karem responded to Trump’s post, writing: “So much for uniting people. That didn’t last a single day.”

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) added, “I knew this mad man would soon be back. He’s incapable of unifying peanut butter and jelly. For Trump it’s always been me, me, me first (& only).”

Media columnist Justin Baragona noted, “The new Trump tone lasted a record 36 hours.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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