Texas Attorney General Says School Pride Week Celebration Breaks Law: NPR


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks before the U.S. Supreme Court November 1, 2021. Paxton said a weeklong celebration of Pride events in Austin this week violated the law of the State.

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Texas Attorney General Says School Pride Week Celebration Breaks Law: NPR

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks before the U.S. Supreme Court November 1, 2021. Paxton said a weeklong celebration of Pride events in Austin this week violated the law of the State.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

An annual Pride Week celebration at Austin schools violates state law, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said this week — the state’s latest move to address LGBTQ rights .

Every year, the Austin Independent School District plans a series of events to celebrate LGBTQIA+ students, emphasizing the district’s “commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”

This year’s events began on Monday and culminated on Saturday with a “PRIDE out” party. Each day of the week is assigned a theme, including knowing your rights, creative expression and the story of pride. Pride and Ally stickers and flags are also given out. The events align with National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week.

But on Tuesday, Paxton sent a letter to Stephanie Elizalde, Superintendent of the Austin Independent School District.

“The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents, not school districts, are responsible,” he wrote.

Paxton said the school district must obtain parental permission before a student is subjected to instruction regarding human sexuality.

“By hosting ‘Pride Week,’ your district has, at best, embarked on a week-long effort to teach about human sexuality without parental consent. Or, worse, your district is cynically pushing an indoctrination of a your students’ week that not only fails to get parental consent, but subtly shuts parents out of the loop,” Paxton said. “You’re breaking state law either way.”

Paxton said parents could file complaints against the school district with the school board and the Texas Education Agency.

On Thursday, the Elizalde issued a statement to the school community, noting that Pride Month takes place in June, when schools are on summer vacation.

“Here at Austin ISD, we celebrate Pride every school year so that our LGBTQIA+ students know how valued and loved they are. This year, it’s important to me personally that they know they are also respected and in safety, and let no one doubt it, that absolutely goes for our trans kids,” she said. “We are ALL Austin ISD. We embrace diversity.”

In recent months, the Texas Legislature and Paxton and Governor Greg Abbott have stepped up efforts to restrict LGBTQ rights and have specifically targeted trans youth.




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