The Austin Independent School District in Texas was immersed in controversy after organizing a Gay Pride Week, giving lessons to children as young as 5 about gender identity without parental consent. The situation was denounced by the famous Twitter account “Libs of Tik Tok,” which has followed the case in detail, revealing controversial videos and curricula.
One of the district’s schools, Doss Elementary, which serves students from preschool through fifth grade, was one of the most criticized institutions for asking its students not to mention anything about what is discussed inside Gay Pride Week “community circles.” “What we say in this room stays in this room,” read the week’s schedule.
After criticism, Doss Elementary clarified that students could indeed discuss the discussions within the circle with their parents.
Also, the school’s assistant principal, Hannah Wankel, posted a video where children can be seen waving the LGBT flag in a pride parade inside the Doss Elementary facilities. As it went viral and caused heavy backlash, Wankel deleted the video, but “Libs of Tik Tok” saved it earlier and republished it on its Twitter account.
Ken Paxton to Austin school district: you’re breaking Texas law
After the controversy broke out on social networks, GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton posted a letter sent to the Austin Independent School District, where he accuses them of breaking the law for giving “human sexuality instruction” to children without parental authorization.
“It has come to my attention that Austin is currently hosting ‘pride week,’ during which [c]ampuses are encouraged to plan activities that ‘engage, educate, and inspire’ students concerning ‘lgbtqia+’ issues,” wrote AG Paxton addressing Dr. Stephanie S. Elizalde, superintendent of the Austin Independent School District.
“As you know, your curriculum and lesson plans deal head-on with sexual orientation and gender identity-topics that unmistakably 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.,” he added.
“Education code section 28.004(i-2) requires that ‘[b]efore a student may be provided with human sexuality instruction, a school district must obtain the written consent of the student’s parent,'” Paxton continued.
“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 attorney general also encouraged parents to file complaints against the school district.
“Based on your violation, objecting parents can file grievances with your school board pursuant to the grievance policy your district is required to maintain under education code section 26.011,” the letter reads. “Additionally, parents may file complaints with the Texas Education Agency on the basis that your event violates ‘school law.'”