SBOE Stands Strong Promoting Abstinence Over LGBT Politics in Final Vote
After almost a year and a half of advocacy on the part of Texas Values and many others, the elected 15-member Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) decisively voted to finalize abstinence-focused Health standards for K-12 students in Texas on Friday, November 20, 2020. The sex education strand in the Health standards focus on sexual risk avoidance and does not include the topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, and abortion, even though the far left tried to get these controversial topics added. The Board also successfully passed Science standards for a final adoption without any attempts or additions that would add the often politicized subject of “social justice.”
While some LGBT and abortion activists, like Planned Parenthood, pleaded for so-called comprehensive sex education in June and September of this year, many more health educators, parents, and citizens encouraged the State Board of Education to adopt abstinence focused sex education standards that do not contain LGBT topics or the topic of “consent”. One health educator who teaches a sexual risk avoidance program mentioned how abstinence for children is important because contraception fails and is not “fool proof.”
The Texas Values team testified (see pictures below) asking the board to accept the standards as they were presented for final vote and to reject any amendments that would add the topics of sexual orientation, gender identity or consent. Our team warned the SBOE how parents are opposed to comprehensive sex education and how refusal skills empowers children to make good decisions for themselves, while consent skills only encourages early, and sometimes illegal, sexual activity among children who are under the age of legal consent. In fact, over 17,000 people used our system to email, call, or message their opposition to the radical policies pushed by liberal political activists. For more on what was finalized at the September meeting, please click here.
The day following testimony, the SBOE had an opportunity to make amendments to the draft of Health TEKS. Democrat member Marisa Perez-Diaz pandered to the LGBTQ advocates by submitting an amendment that would have Kindergarten- 2nd grade students “describe differences and similarities between how boys and girls are expected to act.” Perez-Diaz said that this would help students who do not identify as heterosexual. This amendment is not surprising considering that the liberal lobbying group Texas Freedom Network and SIECUS advocated early in the process that their groups wanted gender identity to be taught in Kindergarten. The amendment by Perez-Diaz failed with only 3 members voting in favor.
Similar to the meeting in September, board member Ruben Cortez resurrected his failed amendments that would add the topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. His first set of motions that would have added the topics to 7-8th grade and high school standards failed. Cortez final motion to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the topic of bullying and harassment to High School Health education was followed by speeches from Democrat members. A record vote was taken and the amendment failed 6-9 with Republican Matt Robinson being recorded as voting for the final failed sexual orientation and gender identity amendment. It’s been noticed that Republican, Matt Robinson would vote for liberal policies that are in conflict with the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) platform.
There was also an effort to add the topic of consent to the standards. Member Perez-Diaz wanted students to “analyze the similarities and differences between legal consent to sexual activity and affirmative consent to sexual activity”. However, the motion by Perez-Diaz failed with eight members voting against. This language would have allowed teaching children how to engage and consent to sex which many believe leaves them vulnerable to attacks and lessens their confidence to say “no” to unwanted sexual activity. Texas law is clear that a child under the age of 17 cannot consent to sex with anyone. This should not be changed.
Not all amendments were bad. Board member Tom Maynard’s amendment was focused on the idea that all teachers should know about local control when selecting sex education materials, the parent’s right to opt a child out of sex education, and the law that keeps minors from obtaining abortions without parental consent. No members objected to Maynard’s motion, so it passed without needing a vote. The amendment added statutory language to the Human Sexuality strand of the Health standards beginning in 4th grade and continuing through High School. The language Maynard proposed included the following:
(a) the board of trustees of each school district shall establish a local school health advisory council to assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reelected in the district’s health education instruction
(b) the right or parent or legal guardian to be informed of the provision of human sexuality instruction to their child and review the content of that instruction
(c) the right of a parent or legal guardian to remove their child from any portion of human sexuality instruction without penalty to the child
(d) the centrality of abstinence education in any human sexuality curriculum
(e) and the right of a parent or legal guardian to be informed of and consent to an abortion performed on their pregnant child (with judicially authorized or medical emergency exceptions).
On Friday, the board successfully voted 15-0 to adopt the Health education standards that were free of LGBTQ ideology, abortion, and the topic of consent. The success comes after a long process of encouraging citizens to participate in work groups, getting parents across the state of Texas to share their stories, and the cooperation of SBOE members. The work at the SBOE will ensure that children make healthy choices for decades to come. We are thankful to the thousands of Texans who engaged with us on this issue. Your voice was heard and made a difference. Thank you!