AUSTIN, Texas — After months of debate among parents about potential changes to sex education classes, Austin school district leaders are discussing what the curriculum should look like.

Board members with Austin Independent School District met Monday night to discuss their Human Sexuality and Responsibility program. This curriculum is set to be modified for the 2019-2020 school year, which includes new and adjusted topics such as sexual orientation, gender expression and consent. 

The current material for elementary school students was put together in 2010 and for middle schoolers in 2012.

Board members are mulling specific topics proposed for each grade level, while also hearing from at least one parent trying to stop the new curriculum. Members of some groups, including religious advocacy group Texas Values, said the material is inappropriate, particularly for younger children. 

"The agenda itself – they're pushing an unfortunately radical agenda that in many cases is just not appropriate in the schools to be taught. Some of these topics probably shouldn't be taught at all," said David Walls, the vice president of Texas Values.

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Others, such as members from the district's Student Health Advisory Council, support the changes, recommending even more explanatory lessons.

AISD Director of Academics Kathy Ryan was involved with the development of the proposed curriculum and she supports the changes.

"New research that’s out there really sheds light on the fact that we haven’t been giving the very best to our kids in the past, and so this revised curriculum allows us to do just that," said Ryan.

AISD schools do allow parents to have multiple opportunities to opt out of any part of these lessons. 

Though no vote took place Monday night, they hope to come to a consensus by next Monday. During last week's school board meeting, trustees actually postponed discussion of these possible revisions. Any changes approved would go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year.


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