- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has accused the Austin school district of breaking state law with Pride Week activities.
- Austin school officials have accused Paxton of assault at the expense of students.
- The District of Austin has celebrated Pride Week for at least 14 years.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has accused the Austin school district of breaking state law with Pride Week activities, which he describes as attempts to inspire students with liberal views on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Liberal School Districts Are Aggressively Pushing LGBTQ+ Ideas On Texas Kids!” Paxton said on Twitter Tuesday night, where he announced his campaign against the district. “Immoral and Illegal” Pride Week The festivities, which began on Monday.
Austin school officials fired back, accusing Paxton of launching a misguided attack designed to score political points at the expense of students.
“I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them from political attacks,” Superintendent Stephanie S. Elisalde responded on Twitter,
A social media-fueled backlash for this year’s Pride Week resulted in death threats against teachers at Doss Elementary School in Austin and prompted the school with police to take Wednesday’s Pride Parade indoors, “Because we were really concerned that this political controversy might potentially threaten the safety of these children,” said district spokesman Jason Stanford.
The Pride Week clash underscores an increasingly sharp divide over issues of sexual identity – a battle that has raged in the courts over Paxton’s opinion that gender-affirming medical care for transgender teens leads to child abuse and in school libraries, where conservatives Insisting on finishing the books. They believe they contain obscene sexual material, many of them with LGBTQ themes.
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The Austin District has celebrated Pride Week for at least 14 years, with 2022 activities to be determined by campus with broad themes, such as “The Differences Are So Great” Tuesdays and “Know Your Rights” on Wednesdays. .
Paxton and other conservatives have focused much of their attention on Dos Elementary’s published Pride Week agenda, which includes the use of “community circles”—conversations directed at topics such as family and honor differences.
According to the agenda from preschool to second grade, one of the rules for joining a circle is: “Respect privacy: what we say in this room stays in this room.”
According to Paxton and conservative media outlets, it appears that students are being encouraged to keep details confidential from parents.
“The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents — not the school district — are in charge,” Paxton said in a letter sent to the Austin District late Tuesday.
State law, he said, requires districts to obtain written consent from parents “before human sexuality instruction can be provided to a student.”
By hosting “Pride Week,” your district has launched a one-week instructional effort into human sexuality without parental consent. Or, worse, your district insists on a week-long teaching of your students. giving that not only fails to obtain parental consent, but subtly puts the parent out of the loop,” Paxton wrote.
“Either way, you’re breaking state law,” he concluded.
Austin school officials dismissed Paxton’s claim, saying he misunderstood and misunderstood the events of Pride Week.
“Community circles are confidential in the sense that students feel trusted and respected for their privacy when sharing in conversation—that doesn’t mean telling their parents,” the district said in a statement. in socio-emotional learning to promote discussion on a range of topics such as test anxiety and world events.
Furthermore, Paxton was wrong, both legally and factually, to equate Pride Week with sex education, which requires parental consent for student participation, said district spokesman Stanford.
“Pride is about celebrating who people are, especially members of the LGBT community who are bullied much more than the community at large, who experience suicide at much higher rates, who are concerned about their safety. straight out of school because of concerns in the U.S.,” Stanford said.
“In Austin, it’s really important for us to tell all these kids that we love them and that they are welcome and that they are safe,” he said. “The attorney general may be surprised to learn that this is a very common idea in Austin, that we all love.”
In his letter, Paxton advised the district to “rectify the situation,” noting that state law allows parents to file complaints with the Texas Education Agency, alleging that they Student participation in “Human Sexuality Instruction” was not approved.
The Austin District would not take that advice, Stanford said, disputed the conclusion that Pride Week activities fall within the legal definition of sex education.
“There’s nothing our lawyers are taking seriously because that’s so wrong about the law,” Stanford said. “We thank the Attorney General for his interest, but we will continue to celebrate Pride.”