FACT CHECK: Viral Post Spreads Misinformation About Arizona Public Schools Superintendent Kathy Hoffman

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post claims Democratic Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman was sworn into office on a Dr. Seuss book and is “pushing” for sex education that would teach kindergartners about masturbation and sexual positions.

Verdict: False

A spokesman for Hoffman confirmed the claims were false. Hoffman took her oath into office on the children’s book “Too Many Moose,” not a Dr. Seuss book. Her proposed changes to Arizona sex education guidelines did not move to teach kindergartners age about masturbation and sexual positions.

Fact Check:

The post, which features a picture of Hoffman being sworn in, makes controversial claims about the Arizona public instruction superintendent, who was elected in November 2018 as Arizona’s first Democratic superintendent in over 20 years.

“‘She’ hates the Bible so much that she swore her oath on a Dr. Seuss book,” the post reads, in part. “She is pushing sex education on kindergartners that includes teaching them masturbation and sexual positions.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims A Minnesota Middle School Discarded Books Because They ‘Cannot Be Cleaned’)

But these claims are inaccurate. Hoffman was sworn into office in January 2019 and, according to The Hill, took her oath on the children’s book “Too Many Moose!” by Lisa Bakos. There is no requirement that public officials swear in on the Bible, or any other religious book, per the U.S. Constitution’s Article VI, Clause 3.

Hoffman, who was a speech-language pathologist prior to being elected, said in an interview that she selected the book because it has a lot of “sentimental value” to her and was her students’ “favorite book.” There is no indication her book choice was because she “hates the Bible.”

The claim that she pushed for “sex education on kindergartners that includes teaching them masturbation and sexual positions” appears to stem from proposed changes to the Arizona sex education guidelines brought to the state’s school board by Hoffman in June 2019. It is likewise incorrect.

The proposal, crafted by Democratic State Sen. Martin Quezada, called for striking language from the guidelines about prohibiting the “teaching of abnormal, deviate, or unusual sexual acts and practices,” and adding language that states instruction should be “medically accurate,” among other changes. The proposed changes did not mention changing the age at which children receive sex education. In fact, the guidelines specifically say, “All sex education materials and instruction shall be age appropriate.”

The changes to the guidelines were never implemented, according to media reports. Sex education in Arizona is optional, and the curriculum is determined at the local level, AZCentral reported. Parents, under state law, must opt in for their children to participate in sex education courses, per the outlet.

Richie Taylor, a spokesperson for Hoffman, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email that the claims “have correctly been labeled as false,” referencing an Associated Press fact check.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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