Despite outrage from many LGBT activists, the Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to approve a new gender policy aimed at ensuring parents have full authority over their children’s health and well-being.

The new policy includes separating locker rooms and restrooms by biological sex and ensuring pronouns are used based on the child’s biological sex. Additionally, the policy prohibits faculty from teaching or providing instructional materials on gender ideology.

Before the board discussed the new policy, there were more than five hours of public comments, including many from LGBT activists who came to condemn the board for considering the item.

Numerous LGBT activists resorted to calling the board members “bigoted,” “hateful,” and “Christian Nationalists.” At one point, a senior at Raines Academy stated that the board members who approved of the policy “should just manifest into thin air.”

Jarred Burton, who serves as vice president of Tompkins High Schools’ Sexuality and Gender Alliance Club, also spoke during the meeting, saying he feels “targeted” and “attacked” by the new policy.

“This policy hides behind the facade of protecting the students but all it will do is harm them,” said Burton. “Instead of focusing on more pressing issues, the board instead chooses to imbue discriminatory beliefs into the school system, and turn schools into a place where many students cannot feel safe.”

However, many other community members and parents came out in support of the new policy.

“It’s always a good thing to remain grounded in reality, and I’m grateful that you have firmly slammed the door on this creeping ideology that has no place in our schools,” said Claudia Turcott. “It is never loving to affirm someone in delusional thinking. These topics have no place in our schools.”

Bethany Spare, a lawyer and a mother to three Katy ISD students, also stood up in support of the policy, saying it is needed to protect parental rights.

“It is important that we adopt one [policy] before Katy ISD is buried in municipal liability,” Spare said. “Under the law, parents have rights for when and how to discuss these issues with their children. The material that is kept out of the classroom by this policy shouldn’t be there to begin with.”

During the heated exchange between trustees, Trustee Morgan Calhoun said the policy is dedicated to putting kids and parents first.

“We’re protecting them with this [policy]. We are putting our daughters and our kids first, and our parents first,” said Calhoun. “Our parents are going to sit in the front seat of this.”

The board narrowly approved the policy in a 4-3 vote, with Trustees Calhoun, Mary Ellen Cuzela, Amy Thieme, and President Victor Perez voting in favor.

Trustees Dawn Champagne, Lance Redmon, and Rebecca Fox voted against the policy.

The current terms of Trustees Champagne and Fox expire in May 2024.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.