AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas State Board of Education passed proposed changes to the state’s sexual education curriculum for the first time in 23 years on Friday.
The revisions will continue the state’s focus on abstinence, but with new attention on prevention, like teaching contraception and more information on sexually transmitted diseases. More details about those changes can be found on the Texas Education Agency’s website.
The board faced criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates when it voted down an amendment that would have added definitions for sexual orientation and gender identity in September.
At today’s meeting, one of the board members, Marty Rowley, explained why he personally voted against that change.
“Texas is a very, very diverse state, obviously. And the some 200 plus rural school districts that I represent, I want to give them the freedom and the latitude to include some of those items in their curriculum in their teaching, if they choose to do so,” Rowley said.
He said his vote does not reflect his own personal beliefs or values.
“The fact that I did not vote in favor of some of those amendments doesn’t have anything to do with my view about those particular demographic groups or an orientation of particular students. It had more to do with my belief that good governance allows for individual school districts to make a decision as to how and what they’re going to teach in this very sensitive issue,” Rowley explained.
It’s worth noting school districts are not required to provide any sexual education under the Texas Election Code, so these are guidelines in case they choose to do so.