UPDATE: Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said in a statement: “I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton this week took some time off from bullying transgender kids to attack and threaten the Austin ISD for celebrating Pride week.
“The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents — not school districts — are in charge,” Paxton declared in a post to his Twitter feed. The tweet included a copy of the letter he sent, addressed to Austin ISD superintendent, Stephanie S. Elizalde.
Paxton wrote that the district’s Pride Week curriculum and lesson plans “deal head-on with sexual orientation and gender identity — topics that unmistakably constitute ‘human sexuality instruction’ governed by state law.’ … With just one full day of ‘Pride Week’ on the books, we received reports of ‘community circles’ — group discussions on sensitive topics that sudents are encouraged to keep confidential, presumably from parents.”
The letter continued: “The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents — not school districts — are in charge. … By hosting ‘Pride Week,’ your district has, at best undertaken a week-long instructional effort in human sexuality without parental consent. Or, worse, your district is cynically pushing a week-long indoctrination of your students that not only fails to obtain parental consent, but subtly cuts parents out of the loop. Either way, you are breaking state law.”
Paxton — who, by the way, is under federal indictment on charges he broke the law and is also under investigation by the FBI on completely different allegations of illegal activity — ended his letter by warning that “Based on your violation,” parents can file grievances with the school board and the Texas Education Agency.
And he ended his tweet with the promise to “work with and for parents to hold deceptive sexual propagandists and predators accountable.”
According to The Daily Beast, school district officials noted that Austin ISD has been hold Pride Week events for 14 years without any problems and that they planned to just ignore Paxton’s performative politics has he strains to rile up his extremist base before his GOP Primary runoff against George P. Bush.
An AISD spokesperson told Daily Beast, ““Pride is about celebrating who people 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.”
Paxton didn’t veer from his laser focus on bullying trans kids for long though. Early this afternoon (Thursday, March 24), his office sent out a statement announcing he is launching investigations into “Puberty-Blocking Drug Manufacturers.”
The medications he’s referring to are Supprelin LA and Lupron Depot, both FDA approved “to treat children with Central Precocious Puberty, in which puberty commences prematurely,” the statement said. “But these drugs are now being used to treat gender dysphoria even though they are not approved for such use by the Food and Drug Administration. Gender dysphoria is a diagnosed mental disorder in which a person experiences significant distress related to a strong desire to be of another biological sex. ”
The statement quotes Paxton as saying, “Companies should never promote or supply puberty blockers for uses that are not intended or approved. I will not allow Big Pharma to misleadingly promote these drugs that may pose a high risk of serious physical and psychological damage to Texas children who cannot yet fathom or consent to the potential long-term effects of such use.”
And if that weren’t enough, Paxton’s office sent out a separate press release this afternoon proudly declaring that he has appealed to the state Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court ruling preventing the Department of Family and Protective Services from investigating the families of trans children who are providing those children with access to gender-affirming health care.
One family has already sued Gov. Greg Abbott for ordering such investigations and DFPS for carrying out those investigations. The injunction issued by Judge Amy Clark Meachum and upheld by the appellate court came in that lawsuit.
— Tammye Nash