On January 22, 2018, a few Concerned Parents attended the AISD Board meeting to make public comments about pornographic books available in the library as well as about a handout provided by Planned Parenthood to middle school students that included a link to adult-natured videos about how to consent to sex. Amazingly, a Board member accused us of lying about the Planned Parenthood handout. Here is a recap by Caryl:
"I attended my first AISD Board meeting on Monday, January 22, along with a few friends. I waited nervously until it was time for public comments. My whole purpose for being there was to share that Planned Parenthood had passed out material to minor children concerning consenting for sex. These were not just suggestions to access videos of couples consenting for sex and how to do it, but the handout also included encouragement to make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic and that insurance is accepted. Kids can’t even take Tylenol without parental consent at school! Here’s what I read to the board:
Hello, my name is Caryl Ayala and I taught for AISD for 11 years, from 2007 to 2016. This is a copy of a PP Fact Sheet that was passed out this past spring 2017 at Covington Middle School in S Austin, without parental consent. Please note the highlighted phrase. Once you go to the PP Consent Video Series you will see Youtube videos of the following: lesbian, gay and heterosexual adults
getting ready for sexual intercourse, kissing and undressing each other. The narrator makes the following comments: “Sex is about connection and pleasure.” “Asking for consent can be kinda sexy.” “We all deserve a safe, pleasurable and awesome sex life.”
My comments for you as educational gatekeepers are these.
This behavior on the part of Yasmin Wagner was outrageous, because she immediately defended Planned Parenthood without even getting the facts. None of the other board members commented, although one board member was very concerned about the pornographic book available and asked that the SHAC look into the issue.
So, in response, I wrote the Board a letter (click here) with screenshots of the adult content on the Planned Parenthood website directed at kids, as well as asking for an apology for the accusation of lying. After a follow-up email, I received a response from Terrence Eaton, Associate Supt. For Middle Schools, stating that the materials were indeed passed out and stating that the situation was rectified (click here for his response). If it wasn't inappropriate, there would have been nothing to rectify, but it was clear that AISD leadership agrees that Planned Parenthood materials should not have been distributed to children.
I have heard nothing back from Yasmin Wagner. I can't help but wonder why an AISD board member would immediately dismiss the concerns of a concerned citizen in order to praise Planned Parenthood, without even looking into the issue. It makes you wonder how connected Planned Parenthood and the AISD Board are.
This month someone from the AISD finance department gave a presentation on how the district stands financially and how it is basically experiencing a $30 million deficit. My teacher radar was all over it - tables, bar graphs, pie graphs, etc. - a visual learners dream! This is how the district decides what programs it keeps, by how much bang they get for their buck.
So my question is ... why did the SHAC decide to start providing sex ed in kindergarten? Did they first a do an analysis to determine that the program was needed? Where is the data? If there is, please share that data with parents.
A number of parents made comments at this meeting, and covered the following topics:
Afterwards, I had a conversation with a school board member. It was very encouraging. She expressed to me that since parents were coming and making comments, the meetings were now more balanced in terms of viewoints. She encouraged me send her any material and findings that I felt would speak to our concerns.
So, I would like to personally thank all the parents and concerned citizens who have come to share at the SHAC meetings.
YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
Two AISD police officers gave an interesting presentation concerning campus mental health calls to police related to hurting others and oneself, among other issues. They also touched on the devastating effects of social media on interpersonal relationships and how it is interfering with learning. They shared data showing that mental health incidents are on the rise and will surpass last year’s numbers. One of the officers shared that parents are clueless as to what their children are doing on social media and are demanding that the schools intervene. He mentioned that there was only so much they could do.
I find this particularly puzzling as a former teacher and parent. Since they are working with the SEL (Social Emotional Learning) department, why aren’t these issues improving? The district requires spaces where students can de-stress in classrooms, such as mindfulness rooms on some campuses, where they conduct yoga and meditation (teachers use the app CALM). SEL also teaches character education via the Second Step curriculum and affirms all types of sexual behavior under the banner of anti-bullying. So, after listening to all the stats it was awkward to hear Julie Cowan (a board member) interject a recommendation to have dinner with your kids nightly. Wow! What a concept! Parents getting involved and taking responsibility for their kids’ actions. I spent the last 7 of my years as a teacher for AISD mentoring parents to advocate and take responsibility for their kids’ education and behavior. Every time they did just that, their kids would improve in all areas.
Three concerned parents shared the following.
Even after several concerned parents and local residents have shared with the committee about their families' values concerning the innocence and purity of their children, the SHAC members provided an invitation to a conference sponsored by PLANNED PARENTHOOD that targets all children and emphasizes reaching Hispanics and students with intellectual disabilities to teach them about sex. Click here for handout. Check out what the district is promoting and supporting when it comes to educating your children.
FYI – Michelle Rusnak, who is in charge of the sex ed curriculum announced that the district is moving forward with the sex ed program starting in Kinder (PK). No word yet on how much of Advocates for Youth's curriculum will be adopted.
Join a national campaign to protect our children from the graphic and perverse sex education being pushed in schools. Parents all over the country area fighting back against the indoctrination of children by abortion and LGBT proponents, by pulling their kids out of school for a day. This will send a message to where the schools feel it the most - their wallet! The event is happening on April 23, 2018. Visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitOutProtest/ for more information.
Happy new year to all! Here are our notes for the first SHAC meeting of the year. Meetings are the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 at the AISD offices. All are welcome to attend - especially parents!
SHAC Highlights for Wed, Jan. 3, 2018
The following three points were shared tonight by concerned citizens:
1. A New Report Shows Failure In School-Based CSE Programs
This handout states key findings (click here for link) of a CSE Report that can be accessed at SexEdReport.org. The key components report data on the following criteria: Reducing teen pregnancy, STD prevention, Consistent Condom Use, CSE’s Intended Dual Benefit, Negative Effects, as well as Abstinence Education Findings. In addition, a hand out of questions was presented to the member to consider for future CSE curriculum:
Does AISD have data to evaluate the sex ed program we are currently using?
Does this data indicate that the sex ed program produces increased abstinence and/or or condom use for at least 12 months after the program?
Does this data indicate that the sex ed program decreases pregnancies and STD’s for at least 12 months after the program?
Does this program uphold our Texas Age of Consent Laws or does it tell under age
minors that they can decide when they are ready for sex?
2. Hugo D., a parent of three, shared statistics from a 2013 AISD yearly report (click here for report) stating that AISD is comprised of 65% Hispanics and that a large percentage of those students are Catholic. He expressed concerns about whether the SHAC was addressing their needs and promoting initiatives that conflict with Hispanic Catholic values.
He also shared a hand out titled Table 34 - Examples of Multiple Orgasm in Pre-adolescent Males by Alfred Kinsey, (click here for link) the “father of the sexual revolution”. The table is a record of males as young as five months to 14 years old that indicates how many orgasms they had. He shared that Kinsey used these findings to claim that children are sexual from birth and needed to be sexualized early. He shared that his research shows a connection to modern Comprehension Sex Ed and that it has ties to what AISD is teaching our children currently.
3. The last info shared with the committee was a copy of a Fact Sheet by Planned Parenthood that was passed out at Covington Middle School (click here for link) located in SW Austin that included Planned Parenthood's "Consent 101" videos depicting highly sexual situations and teaching kids how to give consent for sex. Although there are several pages to the handout that the students received, only the front page was shared at the SHAC meeting. Here are the questions that we asked:
Did you know you were signing off on this material for our kids?
Who’s checking to see if the materials are age appropriate and who decides if they are?
If this material is appropriate for 12 -14 year old students, why are the actors adults?
If 17 is the age of consent, why is consensual sex an issue in middle school?
At the bottom of the handout was information about how to schedule an appointment for Planned Parenthood. Hmm, a multi-million dollar corporation is soliciting clients at middle schools. I wonder if they have a financial interest of being in schools!
Please ask your children if they are receiving any materials sexual in nature, and let us know via email. We are here to help.
Commentary on the SHAC meeting Nov. 1, 2017
The SHAC meetings begin at 6 PM every first Wednesday of the month except for the month of July at the main office downtown.
Members give monthly reports and unless you are member you are NOT (and will be told so) allowed to speak except for 2 minutes at the very end of the meeting - and that's only if it hasn't reached 8 o’clock, when the meeting officially ends. I’ve only been attending for a few months, but the meetings I have attended have all finished within 10 minutes or so to 8 PM. The chair has been giving time to a few people to make comments. So, if any of you are planning to attend and want to express your thoughts, plan your remarks by writing them down and make sure you don’t go past 2 minutes. Also, be aware that only a few people are allowed to speak, so turn in your comment early.
So, here’s a quick rundown of some of tonight’s topics and questions that crossed my mind.
Mindfulness – a program modeled after YOGA and meditation, 8 schools have classrooms.
What’s happening in those classrooms? Do they have a pulsating ball on a screen that speaks to kids, like the CALM app teachers can use on their phones?
Why would a school promote the religious practice of Buddhism and Hinduism? Christians pray too, but I am not aware of any chapels or prayer rooms on any campuses. Is my child allowed to pray during lunch, before a test, for a friend, etc? And why is the moment of silence now called a moment of mindfulness?
There are 14 Mental Health Clinics on campuses around Austin. A few of the campuses include LBJ, Akins, and Lanier. Students are assessed and prescribed therapies.
Are parents given reports of topics discussed? Do any of these sessions include sexual topics, and if so, do therapists demonstrate condom usage and does Planned Parenthood or any of their affiliates participate? Are parents notified before therapy sessions are conducted?
Red Ribbon Week – This emphasis teaches children to refrain from smoking, drinking, and taking illicit drugs. Anti-bullying is also emphasized. Before Welcoming Schools, and its special emphasis on LGBTQ families, anti-bullying meant everyone, no exceptions.
Adolescent sex can be just as dangerous, even with condoms. Why not refrain from that?
Will my child now be bullied because he or she does not participate in celebrating LGBTQ lifestyles and behaviors? On the Day of Silence in middle and high school, will my child be bullied if they speak?
Nurses on campuses – It turns out that parents are very distressed about their children with special health concerns and the lack of professional care. Some the campuses are north of a 1,000 students and have been using student health aides and virtual care via a Seton program instead of nurses or even LVNs.
Parents have questions, too:
"When will my child’s campus get a nurse to help with his intravenous treatments? Why is AISD saying they are in compliance when I have consulted with an attorney and he clearly says AISD is not? Why won’t anyone talk to me?"
In no way do I want to minimize the hard work that any of the SHAC members have done or are doing. Education can be a thankless job. I know because I taught school for many years.
For the kids,
Please join us for a parent information meeting on Sunday November 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm at Oak Meadow Baptist Church in Austin, TX. We will be covering current and planned sex ed/LGBT programs and content at AISD. The presentation will be bilingual English/Spanish. Childcare will be available. Hope to see you there!
Oak Meadow Baptist Church
6905 S I-35 Frontage Rd
Austin, TX 78744
Some AISD campuses will be hosting their Pride Week in the coming weeks. The purpose of Pride Week is to "highlight LGBTQ students, staff and families with the district's commitment to create a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all." The stated purpose is because "LGBTQ students need to know that you accept them -- there are still too many people who don't." Therein lies the fallacy. The non-acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer sexual activity has nothing to do with accepting the person because a person is not defined by his or her sexual preferences! And in fact, sexual activity should not be accepted in any children (straight or otherwise), or outside of the bonds of marriage, due to the serious health and emotional risks alone. So why is AISD taking an entire week to celebrate sexuality choices when the truly healthy approach would be to discourage all sexual activity during youth and outside marriage?
The week includes events, activities, lesson plans, artwork, and school displays, as documented here, supported by the AISD SEL department. One teacher reported that her middle school campus has the students cross-dress in different themes throughout the week. For families for whom the promotion of LGBT sexuality conflicts with their morals or religious values, Texas education code 26.010 (a) states that "a parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity." We have provided a sample exemption letter for Pride Week here, and a more general letter here.
It will be important for parents to contact their principal directly to see what, if anything, their child's campus is doing for Pride Week. Some schools will do nothing, while others will go all out with displays and events. Some are having their activities after school or on the the weekend, as would be more appropriate so as not to obligate all children to participate. Other schools will by tying Pride Week celebrations into other events, like Red Ribbon Week. Usually, the only way to know is to ask, and we've had reports that some principals have been evasive in answering questions, so persistence is key.
The following letter was presented to the members of the AISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) during their October 4th meeting. It's an amazing letter and we're grateful that Austin parents are attending the SHAC and making their voices heard!
First of all, I believe that all of us who take the time to be here, do so because we share a common ground: a genuine concern for our children to be healthy educationally, emotionally and physically. And that the way to do that given our great diversity of backgrounds in this great city of Austin is by treating others the way we want to be treated. Or as I was taught growing up, by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
As a mom of two kids attending a school that has implemented Welcoming Schools, I want to thank you for giving the opportunity to express my deep distress and concern as to how AISD adopted such an obviously biased, one-sided, so called anti-bullying program under the deceiving name of Welcoming Schools. When I searched their website, all I found was an LGBTQ agenda!
This minority group is one among many that needs to be defended against bullying behaviors. Everybody needs to be treated like a human being: from the confused child who suffers from gender dysphoria to the fat kid, to the special needs kid, to the colored-skinned child, to the Muslim child. I would be the first one to defend any transgender child being bullied since all humans need to be treated with dignity. But when I do so, I am by no means endorsing transgenderism nor am I accepting the way their parents are choosing to train their child. Additionally, my children do not need to see pictures in books of two same-sex people loving each other nor do they need to be told it is ok if a boy wants to become a girl nor does he need to accept these views as good or else he will himself be rejected and bullied. Respect for another human and acceptance of any and all behaviors are two separate issues and they need to be treated as such.
A fair anti-bullying program will cover and focus on all minority groups "equally" (that should be a relevant word). Let's make anti-bullying about just that ... no hidden agendas heavily sponsored by "biased" groups (another familiar word). Respect for all people of all colors, shapes and ideologies, yes! Acceptance of what is morally good, that is up to each family to decide. Freedom to use public schools to push certain agendas, No! There are support groups, churches, clubs out there that each family can join to find like-minded people and gain support from that. That's not the role of a public school.
As AISD gets ready to roll out the "All are Welcome" program and works hard at implementing the new anti-bullying program, please remember this petition. We, parents at AISD, want a fair, non-biased anti-bullying program. AISD does not need to lose more students. Thank you for your time and efforts to make our schools a safe and trust-worthy place.
Bravo to this Austin mom!
Based on planning documents obtained through an Austin ISD open records request (see documents here - scroll to bottom of page), the "All Are Welcome" teacher training that the District is developing to replace Welcoming Schools will still be placing a heavy focus on LGBT and gender variance. The differences with Welcoming Schools are that it will be written for teachers at all grade levels (K-12), it will include training on other groups (like refugees and disabled), and it may be made mandatory for all campuses (most likely because Welcoming Schools was not universally accepted). The stated focus is on gaining "acceptance" of differences rather than "advocacy" for them. It is not clear what the difference between those will be.
There seems to be a belief that some teachers and staff have biases against certain groups of students that affect their teaching. Reading between the lines a little, it is probable that the "biases" they are referring to are religious and conservative beliefs. However, they have not provided evidence that holding such beliefs negatively affects teachers' conduct toward students and teaching ability. In my estimation, they will probably be hard pressed to find any such evidence. SEL will be conducting a survey to collect data on teachers' biases.