Following the example of Keller Independent School District, Carroll ISD is the latest to adopt policies keeping boys out of girls’ restroom facilities.

The board adopted rules this week requiring students to use the bathroom facilities that correspond to the biological sex listed on their birth certificate. They also enacted a prohibition on teachers being compelled to use ‘preferred pronouns.’

“We felt like it was pertinent prior to school starting to clarify where this board stands in ensuring the protection of teachers’ First Amendment rights on pronoun use and the board’s position on maintaining separate restrooms, locker rooms, and other similar facilities,” stated Cameron Bryan, the Carroll ISD school board president.

However, while there was agreement among the board to adopt these new policies, Pam Francis—who served on the policy review committee—asked the board to reject the proposed changes.

“I’m concerned that the handbook combined with two other policies you are considering tonight will create a hostile environment for our LGBTQ students and will lead to an atmosphere where even well-meaning teachers and administrators are unable to support these marginalized students,” said Francis. “If you pass these measures tonight, you will be sending the message that only some students are valued.”

Following Francis’ comments, board members countered by asserting the new policy is to protect teachers’ First Amendment rights. They also made it clear that while teachers are not required to use preferred pronouns, they will not be prohibited from doing so.

“This new policy essentially codifies the practice. While it says CISD will not require staff to promote or encourage or require the use of requested pronouns, it doesn’t prohibit a teacher or another student from agreeing to use someone’s requested pronouns,” said trustee Dudley Jordan. “There’s no change. There’s no taking away any rights. We’re just formally codifying in a formal policy what we followed in an informal practice.”

The board also clarified that students who feel uncomfortable using a specific bathroom are welcome to use the nurse’s bathroom, or the school can provide reasonable accommodations.

Additionally, the board voted to update its nondiscrimination statement and student harassment policy by removing gender and sexual orientation from the documents.

Following the lengthy debate, the board voted 6-0 to update the student handbook and nondiscrimination statement for the 2023-2024 school year.

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.