OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sent a letter this week to the Austin Independent School District (AISD) informing officials there they are in violation of state statutes regarding “Pride Week” curriculum.
“The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents—not school districts—are in charge,” Paxton wrote in the letter.
“By hosting ‘Pride Week,’ your district has, at best, undertaken a week-long instructional effort in human sexuality without parental consent. Or, worse, your district is cynically pushing a week-long indoctrination of your students that not only fails to obtain parental consent, but subtly cuts parents out of the loop. Either way, you are breaking state law,” the letter noted further.
Today, I sent a letter to @AustinISD for their curriculum and lesson plans that constitute “human sexuality instruction” governed by state law.
The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents—not school districts—are in charge. pic.twitter.com/pVZ4Sj8GMF
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) March 22, 2022
The AG also wrote that the violation of state law opens the school district up to “grievances” from objecting parents that could result in lawsuits.
“Based on your violation, objecting parents can file grievances with your school board pursuant to the grievance policy your district is required to maintain,” he wrote.
A handout denoting Pride Week from the AISD’s Bowie High School that was shared on social media listed activities that included “watching Queer Eye and nail painting parties.”
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) March 23, 2022
“The school district’s activities captured attention nationwide after a video was shared online of elementary students marching in a Pride Week activity that included waving rainbow flags,” The Daily Wire reported.
Doss Elementary is set to have another pride parade tomorrow morning. The principal moved it to indoors and told parents they can no longer attend after this video went viral yesterday. Looking for a staff member who wants to help fight back. You will be 100% anonymous. Dm me https://t.co/TsTV1AW5KN
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) March 22, 2022
AISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde posted Paxton’s letter to Twitter on Tuesday along with support for “LGBTQIA+ students.”
“I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks,” she wrote. The AustinISD Twitter account then retweeted her statement.
I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks. https://t.co/fNGiaoNM3q
— Dr. Stephanie S. Elizalde (@AustinISDsupt) March 23, 2022
The current fracas over sexuality and gender in the classroom at AISD is not the first time Texas officials have had to deal with it. GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has also addressed the controversy regarding inappropriate content in public school libraries in Texas schools.
“Parents are outraged about highly inappropriate books in our public schools,” Abbott tweeted in November.
“In the wake of Texas Assoc. of School Boards’ negligence, Texas will develop statewide standards to shield children from pornography & obscene content in our public schools,” the governor noted further.
Parents are outraged about highly inappropriate books in our public schools.
In the wake of Texas Assoc. of School Boards’ negligence, Texas will develop statewide standards to shield children from pornography & obscene content in our public schools.https://t.co/88h8dEc2YI
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 8, 2021
Meanwhile, Florida’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, has also taken flak from the left after he signed legislation earlier this month barring the teaching of materials regarding sexual orientation and gender identity between K-3 grade.
In signing the legislation and other similar measures regarding public school curriculum and policies, DeSantis, at a press conference, declared 2022 the “Year of the Parent” in Florida.