Victory for sex education in Flagstaff

The Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD) Governing Board just voted to renew the district’s long-standing sex education program, despite shouts from Christian nationalist agitators to cancel it in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Board members didn’t cave to pressure, and voted to protect a popular program proven to keep children safe from abuse and other harms. If you want to keep these kinds of lawmakers in office, the best thing to do right now is to thank them for renewing sex education!

Board member contact info:

Aaron Cirzan: (928) 527-6002 / acirzan@fusd1.org

Dorothy Denetsosie Gishie: (928) 527-6002 / ddgishie@fusd1.org

Erik Sather: (928) 527-6002 / esather@fusd1.org

Christine Fredericks: (928) 527-6002 / cfredericks@fusd1.org

VOTED NAY: Carole Gilmore: (928) 527-6002 / cgilmore@fusd1.org

Sample letter:

I am reaching out today to say thank you for approving the CSE curriculum at last night’s meeting. Thank you for ignoring the loud, but misinformed voices from the June meeting and standing up for the students in FUSD. Every study confirms that CSE keeps our students safer, and your vote affirms your commitment to medically accurate, fact- and science-based information.

Serving in local office is perhaps more difficult now than it’s ever been, and I appreciate your service and your resolve in the face of bullying and misinformation.

We hope you’ll join us in thanking board members for protecting secular public schools!

The CSE curriculum, in place since 2006, gives students accurate, age-appropriate information shown to keep children safer by reducing partner violence, bullying, and ignorance about sexual health.

Extreme religious arguments (that the program is immoral and threatens “traditional” values) drove the opposition, pushed by right-wing organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This opposition is part of a coordinated effort to roll back progress on LGBTQIA+ rights and sex education.

Several speakers at recent meetings supported curriculum updates, citing extensive evidence of its benefits. However, the opposition was vocal and extreme, with some speakers making unfounded claims about the dangers of sex education and citing dubious sources like the American College of Pediatrics, a group known for its anti-LGBTQIA+ stance.

One speaker even suggested that CSE would lead to “pagan, satanic, sex orgies,” while others denied the existence of trans people or claimed that sex education would encourage students to question their sexuality in unhealthy ways. Former Coconino County Supervisor Jim Parks advocated for outdated, “barnyard” sex education, while another speaker warned of the “mirage of inclusivity.”

The pushback against CSE in Flagstaff mirrors similar efforts across the country, where right-wing groups are using education as a battleground for broader cultural and political fights. These groups often deny the expertise of educators, health professionals, and legal experts, instead promoting a narrow, exclusionary agenda.