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LGBTQ Activist Pivotal in Remaking the State’s New Sex Ed Standards

For a decade, the Director of Healthy Schools at the DPI has infused sexual politics into North Carolina's classrooms. Will she go too far when crafting the new Sex Ed and Health standards?

By: Sloan Rachmuth

Ellen Essick introduced the Gingerbread “Person” to teachers in North Carolina back in 2015. Then, she unveiled the “Gender Unicorn” in 2016. A self-described "LGBTQ youth advocate," Essick was at the forefront of making gender ideology a part of every K-12 classroom in the state.

Essick started her career at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in 2011 as an HIV Consultant; in 2013, she became Section Chief of Specialized Instructional Support and NC Healthy Schools according to her LinkedIn profile. Today, she is poised to lead the effort to update the state's Healthy Living Standards, which include guidelines on Sex Ed.

Every person who believes that children deserve their innocence and that parents should decide when, where, and how their children learn about sex and sexuality should be concerned.

Essick instructs Principals and teachers to use progressive pronouns:

She encourages grooming young children into Transgenderism:

Esick pushes schools to create “bathrooms for all:”

Essick has lobbied for children to be able to change their family-given names and biological sex data on school records. (those moves have been made under Superintendent Truitt)

And she has hijacked all CDC school programming to prioritize “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/ or questioning (LGBTQ) students.”

Essick and her team at the DPI are now seeking public feedback on the state’s new standards which could be released as soon as this fall:

DPI's website states that the development of new standards begins with a review of data collected from surveys and research by a Health Education Standards Writing Team, whose members will likely be selected and led by Ellen Essick. Her team will also select the research and surveys for the writing team to pull from when creating the standards.

After the standards have been written, Truitt and her staff at the DPI (most likely Ellen Essick) will present them to the State Board of Education for approval. If approved, the DPI will create unpacking documents, train teachers on how to implement them in the classroom, and districts will either purchase or develop their own corresponding instructional materials.


In her months in office, Truitt was tasked with revising and passing the Social Studies standards, a process marred by controversy because of radical board member James Ford's influence over the content. Republican members on the State's Board of Education strongly rejected the standards.

Amy White and Olivia Oxendine said they wanted more references to the recent progress the country has made in terms of equality, such as improvements in diversity among those in public office. Todd Chasteen rejected the standards because of anti-American bias. If the standards want to go over history’s ills, he said, they should also include specific references to fascism and socialism.

Lt. Governor Mark Robinson circulated a petition which gathered tens of thousands of signatures urging the state to stop implementing the standards. He then wrote this in a press release :

I am opposed to these standards because of the divisive language, and the clear radical agenda being pushed on our students. Our children deserve better, and I will continue to fight to ensure that all students in North Carolina receive a quality education.

In a party-line vote, the standards passed 7-5, with Superintendent Truitt vowing to remove divisive words like "gender identity" and "systemic racism" from the glossary. Truitt ended up double-crossing her supporters by keeping the divisive terms in the glossary.

Yet that wasn't Truitt's last bait-and-switch with the Republican base.

Recently Truitt had racially divisive terms hidden from a training to indoctrinate teachers of disabled pre-K students on “decentering their whiteness” after public outcry. The DPI and the Frank Porter Graham center (FPG) teamed up for a training called "Equity and Cultural Responsiveness in the Early Childhood Classroom" training in March, 2021. During the program's "Identity" module, teachers are told that whiteness affects everything outside of the classroom and that the goal of pre-K is to "deconstruct" whiteness for all students.

After Education First Alliance and No Left Turn exposed the training to the public, Truitt instructed FPG to remove the inflammatory trainings from its website so she could secure the vote for a $7M contract for the vendor.

It is unclear if the program will continue.


DPI's weak leadership, strong activists, and a history of dishonesty and coverups make it necessary for the general assembly to oversee ‌the creation of the standards.

Email your comments and concerns to your senate and house representatives in the General Assembly, and then copy Ellen Essick, Superintendent Truitt , members of the State Board of Education, and the members of the House Education Committee:

NC House Reps

NC Senators

Ellen Essick:

Superintendent Catherine Truitt:

K-12 House Standing Committee on Education:

John Torbett:

Hugh Blackwell:

Dianne Wheatley:

David Willis:

John Bradford:

Frank Iler:

Jake Johnson:

Donny Lambeth:

Jeff McNeely:

Charles Miller:

Larry Potts:

Dennis Riddell:

Phil Sheppard:

Larry Strickland:

Donna White:



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