The Texas Attorney General on Tuesday accused the Austin Independent School District of violating state law by hosting “Pride Week” celebrations across its campuses.
In a letter addressed to Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde, Ken Paxton alleged that the “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,” he said.
“Every year, to celebrate LGBTQIA+ students, staff & families Austin ISD hosts its own Pride Week, a time to highlight the district’s commitment to creating a safe, supportive, inclusive environment,” the school district tweeted Monday.
Paxton claimed that the Austin school district’s curriculum and lesson plans teach sexual orientation and gender ideology, which qualify as “human sexuality instruction” requiring parental permission under state law.
The attorney general’s office has also reportedly received reports of “community circles,” in which students have been discussing sensitive subjects likely without parental knowledge, Paxton said. The school district also published “inspiration guides” applicable for all ages, “culminating in a ‘Pride Out’ party taking place on Saturday, March 26.”
Paxton put Elizalde on notice that parents can submit complaints to the school board and the Texas Education Agency on the basis that the district is acting unlawfully.
Pride Week appears to be in full swing at Galindo Elementary, which posted photos on Twitter Monday showing the rainbow swag the school was offering students as well as the decor including Pride flags, stickers, buttons, masks, and signs.
In a tweet Tuesday, Paxton slammed AISD’s LGBTQ+ programming as an infringement on parental rights: “The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents—not school districts—are in charge.”
Paxton’s message comes as Florida deals with progressive backlash to its recently passed Parental Rights in Education bill, which prohibits the teaching of sexual orientation and gender ideology in K-3 classrooms in the state. Despite the criticism, Governor Ron DeSantis has doubled-down on the legislation, asserting the right of parents to determine when and how is appropriate to teach their young children about sexuality. DeSantis has refused to bow to Disney, despite its lobbying efforts and employee protests.
A narrow majority of U.S. voters support Florida’s legislation, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released last week.