On April 4, 2017, an open records request was sent to Austin ISD seeking documentation on the Welcoming Schools program. Welcoming Schools is a program implemented in Austin ISD Elementary Schools. Texas Education Code 28.004 requires school districts to notify parents of Human Sexuality Instruction. However, the Welcoming Schools program is implemented as an anti-bullying program and did not go through the process outlined in Texas Education Code 28.004.
After receiving a cost estimate of $635 and the copy of a letter to the Texas Attorney General’s office, the request was modified to “teacher modules” and the following document was received. During the wait period, a letter was also received from the Human Rights Campaign objecting to the open records request.
Parents should ask for transparency from their school districts. You can get on your districts School Health Advisory Council and work with the district to review and recommend social emotional learning, counseling, and guidance programs including anti-bullying. School Districts that implement any program that defines sex and sexuality terms outside of the SHAC recommended, Trustee approved program for Human Sexuality Instruction are violating Texas Education Code 28.004. If parents are not notified, then the school district is violating Texas Education Code 28.004. Get informed and be involved!
Email Exchange with Austin ISD –
- 4/4 – Submitted Open Records Request to Austin ISD – “Welcoming Schools. Please provide all Welcoming Schools communication and documentation including but not limited to the approval process, execution, events, announcements, pledges, petitions, teacher instructions, parental notification, calendar postings, emails to/from/between District employees and Trustees, and promotional materials including but not limited to images of stickers, t-shirts, posters, flyers, and cards.”
- 4/12 – Received reply from Austin ISD saying that they don’t have Welcoming Schools
- 4/12 – Submitted examples of Welcoming Schools in Austin ISD
- 4/25 – Received cost estimate for $635 to respond to the request
- 4/26 – Received a copy of the AG letter from Austin ISD – https://www.scribd.com/document/348864774/20170426AustinISDLettertoTXAG
- 5/9 – Submitted a modified request for teacher modules to Austin ISD – “Please provide the teacher modules for the Welcoming Schools program.”
- 5/10 – Received 22 page document from HRC – https://www.scribd.com/document/348864780/20170511HRCLettertoTXAG
- 5/12 – Requested confirmation from Austin ISD that request was being processed; Received confirmation from Austin ISD
- 5/15 – Received 116 page response from Austin ISD – https://www.scribd.com/document/348864787/05102017123649-0001