by Will Blakely, 1819 News
TRUSSVILLE — Trussville City Schools Superintendent Patrick Martin told 1819 News on Thursday that the controversial Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health (ACASH) lied to school officials about the material presented to students at a health fair last spring.
ACASH’s booth can be seen in photographs obtained by 1819 News from a student’s parent at the fair.
ACASH is a non-profit that purports to advance comprehensive sexual education across the state.
Last year, an 1819 News report found that State Board of Education Superintended Dr. Eric Mackey and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPG) State Health Officer Scott Harris both served as ex officio members of the ACASH board.
Meanwhile, the organization offered several resources to students, parents and educators, including Amaze, which it claimed to be for ages 10-14 but contained several animated videos with explicit images of genitalia and ejaculation. Video topics also included “How to be A LGBTQIA+ Ally,” “How the Boner Grows,” “Being Female, Male, Transgender or Fluid,” and “Abortion with pills: What is it?”
ACASH still includes Amaze on its resource list but added a disclaimer following the 1819 News report stating that including information on its website does not imply an endorsement.
Both Mackey and Harris were eventually removed from ACASH’s board.
At HTHS, ACASH provided various flyers to students, from information about AIDS and HIV to one titled “Contraception Knows No Gender.”
The organization also provided a QR code for students to sign up for its newsletter.
But Martin accused the organization of misrepresenting the material they intended to provide students when ACASH employees applied to be a part of the health fair.
“Let’s just say what they presented in their application and what was on their table were completely different,” Martin explained. “… The materials that they presented to us in their application, it was more around … not putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.”
Martin said he contacted ACASH’s executive director and forbade the organization to participate in the 2024 health fair, which the school system is now calling a wellness fair. If ACASH misrepresents the material in their application again, Martin insisted he’d ban it for good.
“Had [ACASH accurately represented the material it provided], we would’ve had a conversation around how that would’ve looked going forward,” Martin said. “But they did not give us the opportunity to even have that conversation because they misrepresented the information that was presented in the application.”