A recent mandate by a Texas school district stipulates that students identifying as transgender must use restrooms corresponding to their birth-assigned sex, with an additional directive prohibiting the school staff from enforcing the use of preferred pronouns.
The new policies were instituted on June 28 by the school board of the Keller Independent School District, located north of Fort Worth, with unanimous support in a 5-0 vote. One member abstained while another was absent.
The board laid out that employees "shall not promote, encourage, or require the use of pronouns inconsistent with a student's or other person's biological sex". Moreover, a separate policy requires students to utilize bathrooms and locker rooms "that align with their gender assigned at birth". That said, the use of single-stall restrooms may be permitted by the schools.
Charles Randklev, the Keller school board president, commended the new guidelines, stating that they provide a foundation for protecting both students and educators, contributing to a positive start for the upcoming academic year. The district oversees approximately 34,000 students.
Organizations such as Citizens Defending Freedom and True Texas Project, along with other community members, advocated for these policies. Kenya Alu, executive director for Citizens Defending Freedom of Tarrant County, expressed pride in their contribution towards restoring sanity in school policies.
On the contrary, the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) swiftly rebuked these policies, labeling them as discriminatory and potentially harmful to LGBT students.
During the June 28 board meeting, community members, including parents, were present in abundance. Some parents appreciated the board's decision to uphold their values, stating that the bathroom policy is crucial for student safety and privacy. They further clarified that the pronoun policy does not prevent anyone from using a student's preferred pronoun - it simply discourages forced use.
This policy implementation comes amidst a time when topics such as transgender bathroom use, mandatory pronoun usage, and the inclusion of biological males in girls' sports, have become flashpoints in school districts nationwide. An estimated 300,000 minors aged 13 to 17 identified as transgender as of the previous year.