The Austin Independent School District in Texas has arranged shuttles to take “staff, students and their families” to the annual Austin Pride Parade on Saturday, apparently on the taxpayers’ dime.
The district arranged three separate shuttle sites to provide free transportation to and from the event, and it will also give attendees an “Austin ISD Pride” t-shirt, according to the district website.
A Texas nonprofit criticized the use of taxpayer funds for such an event.
“With children across Texas heading back to school, @AustinISD will be transporting children to and from the Austin Pride Parade this weekend,” the Texas Family Project wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “The taxpayer funded ISD has organized numerous shuttles and Austin ISD Pride t-shirts for kids to wear.”
The district says its involvement is related to its commitment to provide an inclusive environment. “We are #AISDproud to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ students, staff and families,” the event page reads. “And to highlight our commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all!”
Besides the Austin Pride Parade, the district advertises that it “hosts its own Pride Week, a time to highlight the district’s commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”
This year’s pride week was March 20-25 and included the themes “All Are Welcome,” “Differences are Awesome,” “Austin ISD Shows Respect,” “Pride and You – Creative Expression” and “Local Pride and Spirit Day.” The week culminated with a community event called “Pride Y’all,” which consisted of “educational and interactive activities for students, families and staff” as well as food trucks and a “student dance and social.”
Students and staff were encouraged to participate by picking up free “Pride Swag” including “Pride and Ally stickers, posters, flags, pronoun buttons and more!”