Bill awaiting Abbott’s signature could derail Austin ISD’s sex education plan

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three years in the making, and with final approval scheduled for later this month, Austin ISD’s revamped sex education curriculum suddenly finds itself on life support. 

That’s because Senate Bill 22 cleared both the Texas Senate and the House of Representatives on the final weekend of the legislative session — and it’s now sitting on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk awaiting his signature. 

If signed, the bill would ban “certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion provider or affiliate of the provider.”

The sex ed curriculum for middle school that Austin ISD was set to adopt is written by Planned Parenthood. 

“We don’t know how it is going to affect what AISD is going to put forth, it does complicate the issue,” said AISD Student Health Advisory Committee Co-Chairperson Cynthia Soliz.

After releasing the curriculum in May, the district has faced criticism from parents who’ve said the lessons aren’t age-appropriate. 

Topics covered in seventh grade include sexual orientation, how to use a condom, and going over hypothetical sexual scenarios.

Angie Phillips’ son starts seventh grade next year. She was one of just 100 parents districtwide who viewed the lessons. 

“What I’m not understanding is the reason behind exposing our kids to things that are beyond their necessity to be dealing with at this time,” Phillips said.

Other parents were frustrated that they weren’t able to view the content to begin with. The lessons are copyrighted, and since AISD hasn’t yet paid the $86,000 to purchase them, it was only allowed to show parents the lessons in person. 

Viewing sessions were scheduled over four days at the end of May.

With a vote originally scheduled for June 17, AISD is now delaying its final decision until August. By then it hopes to have some clarity as to whether it can move forward as planned, or needs to start looking elsewhere for its sex ed curriculum. 

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