State Board of Education rejects secondary school sex ed instruction materials


Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The state Board of Education made a preliminary decision on Tuesday to reject instructional materials focused on sex education, self-harm, and gender identity for middle and high schools schools

Athena Tseng, Managing Editor

The State Board of Education declined to adopt the instructional materials for high school and middle school, addressing self-harm, contraception, and gender identity. This leaves each school district to decide for themselves. 

Last year, the Board approved new TEKS on birth control and abstinence education starting in middle school. However, the only materials that were approved were health education products for K-5 students from publisher QuaverEd that focused on mental health, hygiene, and decision making. 

The board rejected health materials published by Lessonbee Inc. and Human Kinetics for middle and high school on Tuesday. The primary justification for the rejection of health materials is that the materials covered topics beyond the approved TEKS.

“They encourage sexual activity at a young age; they mentioned consent when we agreed on refusal skills in the TEKS,” a senior policy advisor for family-values nonprofit organization Texas Values Mary Elizabeth Castle said during public testimony. “And then they had a topic of gender identity and sexual orientation that was not agreed on by the board.”

Some involved in the decision making process want to give the districts the option to use these materials as each district knows what is best for their students.


“I don’t think we should have a vacuum where we adopt nothing,” Will Hickman, R-Houston said. “These are, again, not perfect, but I think they’re good. And like we’ve said many times, the school districts can adopt these or not, but it’s just providing an option.”