Sign This Petition to Show Your Support for Comprehensive Sex-Ed

Sign This Petition to Show Your Support for Comprehensive Sex-Ed

Austin Independent School District (AISD) Parents:

AISD is considering a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum for K-8th grade students. To show your support, please sign this petition which will be delivered on behalf of The Informed Parents of Austin to the Austin ISD School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and the Board of Trustees.

There are many reasons to support age-appropriate, science-based, comprehensive sexuality education in your child’s school – here are just a couple:

Comprehensive sex education keeps kids safe and healthy. Children and teens make healthier choices and have healthier relationships when they receive fact-based sex education at school.  In fact, teens who receive comprehensive sexual health education are more likely to wait longer to become sexually active and make safer lifelong sexual decisions. With honest and factual information, students of all ages have the tools they need to take charge of their health and focus on their future goals.

Comprehensive sex education is recommended by experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Institute of Medicine, and Society for Adolescent Medicine all support comprehensive sex education for all children beginning in elementary school.

Basic information about the new AISD program:

  • The program AISD is considering is science-based and appropriate for students’ age and developmental stage.
  • The elementary curriculum includes 5 lessons per year from Kindergarten thru 5th grade.
    • Students will learn about basic body parts, appropriate boundaries, healthy friendships.
  • The middle school curriculum includes 10 lessons per year in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.
    • Students learn about healthy relationships, reproductive systems and processes, abstinence, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • By state law, parents/parenting adults will be able to opt their child out of any lesson and no child will be required to participate.

Your support is needed to get this curriculum approved and implemented in classrooms district-wide. School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) will vote to adopt the curriculum and it will then be approved by the AISD Board of Trustees.

Please sign and share with other parents with children in elementary or middle school in AISD.  Please only sign if you currently have a student enrolled in AISD. Thank you.

Click here to link to the petition.

 

It’s Time For You to Go to a SHAC Meeting

It’s Time For You to Go to a SHAC Meeting

One of the most powerful actions you can take to support LGBTQ kids and families in your school district is to attend your district’s SHAC meetings.

SHAC stands for School Health Advisory Council. In addition to doing important things like making sure our kids have healthy lunches and excellent physical education programs, SHAC boards also guide school districts’ policies on LGBTQ inclusion and preparedness/sensitivity training for teachers as well as age-appropriate sex-ed programs for students.

We focus a lot on the Austin Independent School District in this group, but the fact is that ALL school districts have SHACs, and no matter where you live, if you care about defending your kids against vocal anti-LGBTQ groups and groups demanding abstinence only “sex ed” then you need to start getting involved in these meetings, or even sign up to be a SHAC board member.

I’m listing the contact information for the SHACs in the Austin area here, but please take a moment to google “__________ SHAC” (with the _______ being your school district) to find their meeting dates or even sign up to be considered for the board.

If you’re a little introvert and nervous about attending (like I was,) I’ve put together a little “How to Attend a SHAC Meeting” about how our meetings in AISD work.  I’m guessing they are similar in other districts, but this at least will help give you the assurance that they are not scary. You do not need to talk. You just need to be there, and be informed.

Austin Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member

Lake Travis Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member by contacting your school’s principal or contacting Kathleen Hassenfratz at 512-533-6041 or at hassenfratzk@ltisdschools.org

Leander Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member by contacting Sr. Executive Director of Student Services Brad Mansfield at brad.mansfield@leanderisd.org.

Round Rock Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member

Eanes Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member by contacting Linda Rawlings, Director of Student Support Services, (512) 732-9020 or .

Pflugerville Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member by using this general contact form for the district.

DelValle Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member by contacting Health Services at 512-386-3073

Manor Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member by contacting Student and Family Support Services Director Becky Lott at (512) 278-4462 rebecca.lott@manorisd.net or  Health Services Coordinator Lynda Townsend at (512) 278-4093 lynda.townsend@manorisd.net

Hays Independent School District
SHAC General Info
Sign Up to be a SHAC Board Member

 

I am not sure about your district’s SHAC meetings, but ours are regularly visited by vocal members of groups specifically designed to shame and block the rights of the LGBTQ community. Our general rule is to not engage with these people and to focus your efforts on the SHAC board members who have the power to influence change.

If your district is like ours, and already has programs that support the rights for ALL students, then simply show them your appreciation and offer your support for future programs.  If your district does not have programs in place that support equal rights for LGBTQ students and families, join our group, and we’ll get you the resources to help.

 

Follow our Facebook Page

Join our Facebook Group

Follow Us on Twitter

Sign Up For Our Monthly Newsletter

How to Attend An AISD SHAC Meeting

One of the most effective ways to let key decision makers at AISD know that you support initiatives that support the LGBTQ+ community is to attend the monthly SHAC meetings and sign in as representing “Informed Parents of Austin.”

It can be a bit confusing and intimidating the first time you attend any new gathering, so here is a quick overview of what to expect when you attend a SHAC meeting.

Know where & when to go: The meetings are the first Wednesday of every month from 6:30pm – 8:00pm in the Carruth Auditorium Board Room at 1111 West Sixth Street.  The full schedule, agenda for the upcoming meeting and minutes from past meeting are all available here.

Since finding the actual conference room is the hardest part, here’s a handy map.

 

When You Arrive: There are sometimes prior meetings in the room that run until 6:30 so if other people are waiting outside the door, just ask to make sure you’re entering the correct meeting.  To your left there will be a table with a sign up sheet, agendas as well as the Speaker & Comment cards.  If you want to speak, make sure you give your card to one of the board members before the meeting starts so they know how many people to allot time for at the end of the meeting.

Note: Every meeting I have attended, there have been boxed meals available on the table for board members and guests. You are welcome to grab one.

Where to Sit: Visitors are welcome to sit around the table with the board members, however, if there’s a large group, you can simply grab one of the chairs set behind the board table.

Here’s a photo of the basic seating layout at SHAC meetings. It’s a very casual, welcoming environment. Photo credit: AISD SHAC Facebook Page

The Meeting:   Here’s a sample agenda to give you an idea of the flow of the meetings and topics discussed.  The guest/public comment period is at the very end of the meeting and each person is limited to two minutes.

Do I HAVE to DO Anything?!  As a SHAC meeting guest, you are under no obligation to speak at any time – You can truly just act as a “fly on the wall” while taking in the information discussed.

If you do have something you want to say, but are hesitant to speak in front of the group, you can submit a written statement on one of the comment cards which are located on the table as you enter the room.

Since these written comments are kept with the records of the meeting, (and the Concerned Parents are definitely submitting their comments,) I always submit a general statement of support, such as:

My name is Susanne Kerns and I am one of the 800 members of The Informed Parents of Austin. I would like to thank the SHAC board for continuing to support programs that encourage equality and inclusiveness for LGBTQ+ students and families. I also support your efforts to include age appropriate sex education in the AISD curriculum.  I, and the Informed Parents of Austin, are here to support you in any way to ensure these programs are made available to all students in AISD.

Be Aware:  The SHAC board is there to attend to a wide variety of subjects pertaining to the health of our students and AISD staff, from Physical Education programs and Lunch Menus to staff insurance plans and school nurse coverage.  During any given meeting, there is very little chance that any LGBTQ+ or sex ed topcs will be raised, and even if they are, as observing guests we are not allowed to comment on them during the discussion when guests are each allowed two minutes to give a brief statement.  We are there to get information, be a counter-presence to the Concerned Parents and let the SHAC board know that we support their inclusion initiatives.

If you read my post about an unusual discussion I had with a representative from the Concerned Parents group, please note that this was not DURING the meeting, rather she reached out to me after the meeting. Your 2 minutes are YOURS. There is not a response period or an opportunity for the CPs to start a debate.  (Note: that post is on my personal blog, not the Informed Parents of Austin blog.)

Since that discussion, I have done my best to not engage with any CPs as I’m following the HRC’s recommendation to not engage with people who are fighting against our goals, but to support the decision makers who support equality for LGBTQ+ students and families.

Follow our Facebook Page

Join our Facebook Group

Follow Us on Twitter

Sign Up For Our Monthly Newsletter