There was a line down the sidewalk to get into the Austin Independent School District’s school board meeting Monday. Under jackets and cardigans, many opponents wore red T-shirts with “AUSTIN SEXXX ED” circled and slashed out.
During a raucous three hours from Monday night into Tuesday morning, about 100 people stepped up to the microphone for a minute each to explain to nine Austin school board members why they should or should not approve a new comprehensive sexual education program for third through eighth grade.
This marks the first time the district has evaluated its sex education curriculum in more than 10 years, and the lessons include topics like gender identity, reproductive anatomy, and body image, tailored for each grade.
Opponents of the program, many organized by conservative statewide advocacy group Texas Values, said the curriculum violated Christian family values and included lessons — including on sexual orientation and sexual health — that parents should tackle at home. Proponents, who showed up to the meeting in smaller numbers, argued the lessons would be valuable tools to help LGBTQ students feel supported by teachers and administrators, and would help all students learn to build healthy relationships.
The article was published at Austin ISD sex ed battle could be preview of state-level debate.