Reports from Trendzified’s review of district internal messages show that a Texas fourth-grade teacher claimed that 20 of her 32 students had come out to her as LGBTQ.
The Blackshear Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District hosted a “Wellness Walk” for elementary school students, according to internal messages obtained by the Twitter account, LibsofTikTok. An outraged teacher slammed the idea of holding a “Wellness Walk” during Pride Week. The teacher said in internal messages,
[It] takes away from the experience of celebrating Pride. I feel that it is inappropriate to call our parade this morning a ‘Wellness Walk’ at all. While I understand that Wellness Walk is something that was previously in motion to promote health and fitness and is something we want to continue, it really takes away from the experience of celebrating Pride to couple the two.
The first Pride was a riot. It was not enough to just ‘welcome,’ ‘love,’ and ‘celebrate’ Queer folx. Your allyship should always lead you to activism – speaking up and fighting for what is right, even when it feels uncomfortable. We can’t choose in and out of our protest spaces.
The teacher went on to say that of the 32 students that she teaches, “20 of them are LGBTQIA+ and have come out to me.”
“I feel that we need to do better – for them,” the teacher said. “To affirm our students, I think it would only be appropriate and right to publicly announce [that] what we had this morning was a PRIDE Parade.”
These are internal messages from a 4th grade elementary teacher in @AustinISD. She’s upset that an entire week dedicated to LGBT still wasn’t good enough. Coincidentally, 20/32 of her FOURTH GRADERS are LGBT and have “come out” to her
What the hell is going on in these schools?! pic.twitter.com/dCPjBEW7jv
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) March 28, 2022
The parade was not a “wellness walk,” but a Pride Parade, according to an email from the school’s principal, Rick Garner. “Thank you for participating in our Pride Parade this morning,” the email reads. “It was never my intention to confuse the staff or students by calling our Pride Parade a wellness walk. Our objective was to celebrate differences and promote inclusivity.”
On the heels of an elementary school Pride Week flyer that asked five-year-old students to keep conversations about LGBT issues “confidential,” the Austin Independent School District has received backlash.
Communities of practice are designed to be private in a way that makes students feel trusted and respected for their privacy, according to Trenzified.
“[It] does not mean don’t tell your parents,” the district’s media relations specialist said. “Every parent has the right to opt-out of these activities … Everyone, not just parents, has access to the [community circles] materials ahead of time.”