Katy Independent School District is set to decide whether to implement a new policy that would guide teachers on how to address an array of gender issues in the classroom.

The new policy was first presented to the school board last week. It focuses on allowing parents full authority over their child’s health and well-being, separating locker rooms and restrooms by biological sex, and ensuring pronouns are used based on the child’s biological sex. The policy also adds that faculty and staff are prohibited from teaching or providing instructional materials on gender ideology in classrooms.

Before the board discussed the policy, Board President Victor Perez noted that while the district has had no significant problems with this topic, it is crucial to establish a policy to provide educators guidance on these issues.

“The policy is intended to provide guidance, support, and protection for all teachers and district staff and the protection of children,” explained Perez. “Additionally, parental authority and the parents’ role is paramount and is a key component. Parents need to at all times have full knowledge as to what is going on with their child and be able to determine what is best for the welfare of that child.”

According to the new policy, parents are entitled to access all records of the district concerning their child, including health information, teacher and school counselor evaluations, and reports of behavioral patterns. The policy also includes that the district “shall not diagnose or treat gender dysphoria,” emphasizing that “parents have the right to determine whether to seek professional medical support for their child.”

However, while Perez sees the new policy as beneficial for all faculty members, Trustee Dawn Champagne says it will diminish trust between students and teachers.

“I fear that the burden of the policy will fall upon these teachers who will now be required to report if a child confides to them about this sensitive subject,” said Champagne. “Trust will be destroyed between the child and the teacher that they have decided to confide to.”

The policy says that while district staff will not promote, require, or encourage the use of pronouns for students inconsistent with their biological sex, staff can refer to that child with a different pronoun with parental consent.

During public comments, multiple LGBT supporters spoke, accusing some board members of being “Christian Nationalists” and attacking LGBT students.

Brady Gray, president of Texas Family Project, told Texas Scorecard Katy ISD’s proposed policy is common sense and should be required in all schools across Texas.

“This policy is not new and it certainly does not risk the safety of any students, as has been asserted,” said Gray. “Of course you must use the correct restroom. Of course teachers should have an obligation to tell parents if a child is displaying symptoms of gender dysphoria. It is the parent who is ultimately responsible for their children.”

“That anyone would suggest a teacher has any obligation or right to hide information about a child from a parent speaks to the depravity we are seeing across our state and nation,” he added.

The board is set to discuss the policy further on Monday evening.

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.