The Illinois Attorney General’s Office allowed the state’s largest school district to withhold records related to gender and sexuality lessons offered in classrooms, according to a Jan. 5 letter sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has paid over $90,000 to Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago since 2021 for a series of trainings provided through its Sexuality Education Program, which includes lessons on anal sex instruction and pro-transgender sexual communication. CPS denied the DCNF’s initial Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the sexual education materials in August, stating that Illinois state law exempts “course materials or research materials used by faculty members” from being released through FOIA requests.

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office upheld the decision in a January letter sent to the DCNF, citing Illinois law that exempts “course materials” used in public schools. The DCNF’s FOIA sought any videos, slideshows, documents or handouts associated with sexual education materials CPS had received from Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“The section 7(1)(j)(iv) exemption expressly exempts from disclosure ‘course materials’ used in public schools,” the attorney general’s office wrote. The attorney general’s office says that “FOIA does not define ‘course materials,’” but that the DCNF’s request was “coterminous with the plain meaning of the term.”

Illinois law includes “course materials or research materials used by faculty members” on a list of items “exempt from inspection and copying” during public records requests. Public bodies are, however, required to make public any information contained in an exempted material that is not itself exempted.

The DCNF had argued that the “public has a right to review all public education curriculum materials” and that “this sex ed curriculum is being paid by Chicago schools and therefore should be subject to public review.”

Lurie Children’s Hospital has a “unique expertise for grades K-8” in terms of providing sexual education, according to its website. Student programs provided by the hospital touch on “consent, communication and safe sex” as well as “healthy LGBTQ relationships, anal sex and HIV.”

The hospital also offers “Gender and LGBTQ Inclusion trainings” for teachers and other educational professionals, according to its website.

One presentation offered by the hospital on “inclusive sexual health ed practices” follows the National Sexuality Education Standards, a K-12 sexual education curriculum that recommends teaching fifth graders about sexual orientations and eighth graders about anal sex.

In 2022, the hospital partnered with four Illinois school districts to promote sex toys and resources related to gender transition. The hospital also published a video series featuring young children discussing sexual subjects with adult transexuals.

While CPS is withholding the particular materials used during these sexual education sessions, invoices obtained by the DCNF offer some insight into what is being taught in Chicago’s classrooms.

CPS spent $15,000 on “Gender and sexuality workshops” from Lurie Children’s Hospital in 2021 and $23,000 in 2022 on “Gender and Sexuality Resource Development,” $5,000 of which went to a “Sexpectations Team fee,” according to invoices obtained by the DCNF.

A school in the district also spent $2,250 in 2021 on 15 hour-long “Sexuality Education workshops” from the hospital.

CPS, Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

Megan Brock and Robert Schmad on February 21, 2024

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