Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton blasted "Pride Week" activities at the Austin Independent School District in a letter posted to Twitter, saying they constitute "human sexuality instruction" allowable only with parents' consent. He also accused the district of participating in LGBTQ "indoctrination."
Allegedly among the "Pride Week" activities are "Queer Eye" showings and "nail painting" parties at a district high school.
What are the details?
"Liberal school districts are aggressively pushing LGBTQ+ views on Texas kids! All behind parents’ backs! This is immoral and illegal," Paxton added in a follow-up tweet. "I will work with and for parents to hold deceptive sexual propagandists and predators accountable."
Paxton's Tuesday letter noted that the district's activities happening this week are "at best" an "instructional effort in human sexuality without parental consent" or "worse" the district is "cynically pushing ... indoctrination of your students that ... subtly cuts parents out of the loop. Either way you're breaking the law."
The attorney general added that he heard reports about "community circles" in which "sensitive topics" are discussed and that "students are encouraged to keep [them] confidential, presumably from parents."
But Austin school officials pushed back, saying in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman that community circles are "confidential" in the sense that they make "students feel trusted and respected for their privacy when sharing in the conversations — it does not mean don't tell your parents."
Interestingly, a Libs of Tik Tok tweet said Doss Elementary's instructions — after "parent and social media backlash" — were updated to reflect that teachers are to inform students they can tell parents about Pride Week activities:
Indeed, the American-Statesman reported that backlash to this year's Pride Week resulted in death threats against Doss Elementary teachers and "prompted the school to move Wednesday's pride parade indoors, with police present." District spokesman Jason Stanford added to the paper that "we were actually worried that this political controversy could possibly threaten the safety of these kids."
Libs of TikTok also posted video to Twitter showing what it said was an indoor Pride Parade at Doss Elementary:
In addition, it was claimed that activities such as "Queer Eye" showings and "nail painting" parties were scheduled at James Bowie High School:
The Austin ISD — in response to TheBlaze's request for comment Thursday regarding claims that Doss Elementary's Pride Week instructions were amended to make sure students are told they can talk to their parents, and that "Queer Eye" showings and "nail painting" parties were scheduled at James Bowie High School — said "these are all ways we are celebrating inclusion this week." The district also repeated statements to TheBlaze that it made to the Austin American-Statesman in defense of Pride Week.
In response to Paxton's letter, Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde tweeted the following: "I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks."
In addition, the American-Statesman reported that Stanford said Paxton is wrong, legally and factually, to equate Pride Week with sex education.
"Pride is about celebrating who people are, particularly members of the LGBT community who are bullied much more than the community at large, who experience suicide at much higher rates, who skip school at twice the rate of straight kids because of worries about their safety," Stanford told the paper.
"In Austin, it's really important to us to let all these kids know that we love them and they're welcome and they're safe," he added to the American-Statesman. "It might surprise the attorney general to find out that this is a pretty normal idea here in Austin, that we love everybody."
And while Paxton's letter advised the Austin ISD to "rectify this situation" and warned that parents could take action against the school district, the paper said Stanford brushed aside the attorney general's cautions.
"This is nothing our lawyers are taking seriously at all because he's so wrong about the law," Stanford told the American-Statesman. "We thank the attorney general for his interest, but we will continue to celebrate Pride."
This story has been updated to reflect the school district's response to TheBlaze's request for comment, which was received after publication.
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