Austin Independent School District hosts Pride Week, lessons for middle school students about “coming out and how to use pronouns correctly”
- Sex and Gender
The Austin Independent School District (AISD) hosted Pride Week from March 21- March 26, 2022. Events during the week featured Pride parades and activities dedicated to learning about “coming out” and “how to use pronouns correctly.” The week culminated on a Saturday with a “‘Pride Out’ Party in the Park” that included pronoun pins, queer story time, and drag queens.
The activity list below was for sixth through eighth graders:
A post from the Twitter account Libs of Tik Tok presented that a fourth-grade teacher was “upset that an entire week dedicated to LGBT still wasn’t good enough. Coincidentally, she asserts that 20/32 of her FOURTH GRADERS are LGBT and have ‘come out’ to her.”
Documents obtained from the district’s website include a lesson titled “Identity” for sixth graders. This unit centers on objectives such as students being able to “differentiate between gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation” and to “recognize injustices and plan ways to denounce inequality.”
In one of the lessons included in the unit, teachers are asked to play the video “Love Is Love: Free To Be Me.” The two minute nineteen second clip highlights a youth “coming out” to their aunt, “I decided to tell my aunt what had been bothering me.” Midway through, the narrator stated “You don’t have to just like boys or just like girls. Being bisexual means you can be attracted to boys and girls.” The short film concluded “There are lots of sexual orientations you can have – lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, or something else. They’re all ok.”
As part of the sixth-grade unit on identity, an activity titled “Gender Match Game!” and “Sexuality Match Game!” asks students to match up terms such as “homophobia,” “Pansexual” and “Transphobia.”
In October of 2019, the AISD school board approved a new “health education” curriculum for grades 3-8. Each grade level has a different education plan and includes lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity.
For example, according to the scope and sequence for grade 3, students will “identify trusted adults to talk about sexual orientation.”
Parents do have the option to opt their children out of these lessons.
“We are currently revising the opt-out letters to reflect the new topics and lessons. The opt-out letters will be posted by mid-November 2019 on the Health Education website. Last year’s opt-out letters are currently posted. Principals will conduct a Parent Orientation meeting in March/April to discuss HSR policies, curriculum, instructional delivery and the opt-out process. Parents will be provided the opt-out letter at the meeting as well at least 3 weeks prior to instruction, which happens in May. Opt-out letter deadlines will be determined by the campus principal.“