This piece has been updated on 3/29/22 to include a comment from the Austin Independent School District.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, sent a letter early last week to a state school district telling its superintendent that its planned Pride Week would be considered against the law.
Paxton wrote the letter to the Austin Independent School District, (ASISD), in the capital writing that the district would be "breaking state law." The attorney general shared the letter on Twitter while calling LGBTQ+ people and their allies "deceptive sexual propagandists and predators."
"Liberal school districts are aggressively pushing LGBTQ+ views on Texas Kids! All behind parents' backs! This is immoral and illegal. I will work with and for parents to hold deceptive sexual propagandists and predators accountable," he wrote in a retweet of the letter.
"Today, I sent a letter to [ASISD] for their curriculum and lesson plans that constitute 'human sexuality instruction' governed by state law. The Texas Legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents -- not school districts -- are in charge," the tweet featuring the letter said.
The attorney general addressed the letter to Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde.
By organizing a Pride Week, Paxton told Elizalde the school 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."
He added that the district's lesson plans "deal head-on with sexual orientation and gender identity--topics that unmistakably constitute 'human sexuality instruction' governed by state law."
In response, Elizalde tweeted, "I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks."
A spokesman told The Washington Post the celebration would continue as planned, which was March 21-25 with a Pride party on March 26.
"We're going to react to this by doubling down on making sure our kids feel safe and celebrating Pride," spokesperson Jason Stanford said last week.
"This is not a parental rights issue," he added. "This is a Ken Paxton trying to score political points issue."
In a statement emailed to The Advocate, a spokesperson for AISD said, "We had a great Pride Week on our campuses and hosted our Pride Party in the Park over the weekend and it went off without a hitch. As far as our Attorney General's interest in our Pride Week, we can't afford to be distracted from the true purpose of our Pride Week -- to ensure all students, staff, and community members feel loved and like they're at home in Austin ISD."
The spokesperson added, "Our Pride Week has always been about inclusion and appreciating each other's differences. We're proud that we're able to provide this space for our community to show up as their authentic selves and be celebrated."
Photos from the Pride Party in the Park are below.