AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin ISD school board approved a sex education curriculum for all of its students, according to a letter sent to district parents.
Following Texas law, the letter said AISD’s lessons will focus more attention on abstinence from sexual activity. The curriculum will be age appropriate and taught to all students from kindergarten through high school, the letter reads.
Sex ed was paused for AISD elementary and middle school students over the last two school years, because of remote learning and to make sure the district’s teachings — revamped in 2019 — fall in line with recent changes made by state lawmakers and education agencies.
Sex education lessons in Texas were revised during the 2021-22 year “to comply with current law and to meet the updated Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Health,” the letter reads.
The lessons will be taught in the months of November and December, and during the months of April and May for students enrolled in the high school health education course for the spring semester.
Below is Texas’ requirements for human sexuality courses in public schools, according to the AISD letter.
Texas state law on human sexuality
1. present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relationship to all sexual activity for unmarried persons of school age;
2. devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;
3. emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity, if used consistently and correctly, is the only method that is 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity;
4. direct adolescents to a standard of behavior in which abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; and
5. teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates, if instruction on contraception and condoms is included in curriculum content.
What AISD parents need to know
Parents and guardians can review all material connected to the course. “Materials, including teacher notes, handouts, and video links, are available on the district’s Human Sexuality and Responsibility website,” the letter said.
The principal at each school will hold at least one orientation meeting for families before the course begins. This meeting will allow families to ask questions and learn about the opt-in permission process, the letter said.
Parents and legal guardians can choose whether or not their child will take part in the lesson. Parents must sign a permission slip. Students who don’t participate won’t be punished and will have alternative lessons, the letter said.