The Austin Independent School District board of trustees has approved new sexual education curriculum for grades 3-8, marking the first time the district will discuss topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation. In February of 2019, the school board voted to adopt the general framework for the changes outlined by the National Sexuality Education Standards, which were written by a group of nonprofits and educational advocates. On Monday night, the board voted unanimously to approve its own curriculum based on those national standards.
Monday’s board meeting was met with dueling protests. One rally, hosted by the group Texas Values, was in full opposition to the changes, calling them “a radical, hypersexualized, and potentially illegal sex education curriculum.” Supporters of the changes included the group known as Informed Parents of Austin, which praised the push, calling it a vital step toward inclusivity.
Some supporters interrupted the board meeting on multiple occasions, including one transgender person who was arrested and charged with trespassing.
AISD officials said abstinence will continue to be an important part of the overall teaching.
Following the board’s vote, Texas Values Vice President David Walls, who is also an AISD parent, released the following statement:
“Tonight’s vote by the Austin ISD Board sends a clear message: people of faith and traditional moral values are not welcome in Austin ISD. By passing this curriculum, Austin ISD has broken the sacred trust that parents put in their children’s schools. Austin ISD parents have no reason to entrust their children to a school district that weaponizes education to indoctrinate children into the LGBT political movement.”
AISD expects to begin teaching the new curriculum as early as May of 2020. Parents who are opposed will be given the choice to opt out.