Grapevine Colleyville ISD

GCISD Passes Policies on Pronoun Usage, Books and Classroom Discussions

The newly passed policy changes come after nearly 200 people spoke at a Monday board meeting

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After nearly 200 speakers Monday night voiced their support and concerns, the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD board narrowly passed a set of policies on topics such as pronoun usage, bathrooms and classroom discussions.

The proposed policies would limit how teachers talk about race, gender and sexuality and give trustees a greater say over which books are available in schools. The policies passed in a 4-3 vote around midnight after hours of public comment and discussion.

Laura Leeman, a mother of two students in the district, said she was not surprised at the outcome. However, she felt it was important to voice her opposition.

“It’s basically a big step on telling students, primarily, gay teachers and the LGBTQ community in general, that they are othered. That they don’t matter. That’s what the policies mean,” Leeman said.

According to the new policies, the district will not require or encourage the use of pronouns for students or teachers that don’t align with the person’s biological sex, as listed on their birth certificate. Even if a student gets permission from a parent specifically requesting a teacher use a certain pronoun for the child, the teacher is not required to use the pronouns requested by the family.

The district will require – as permitted by law – that every multiple-occupancy bathroom or changing facility be used only by people based on their biological sex, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Teachers, students, and staff members will not be forced to address students by the pronouns that match their gender identity, even if the child’s parent has approved—Larry Collins with more on the GCISD School Board meeting.

District staff should not talk about sexual orientation or gender identity until after a child has finished fifth grade, the policy stated.

Several people spoke in favor of the policies.

“I am well versed in the idea of gender dysphoria. I have a lot of it in my family. I know it’s real. I also know this topic should be handled by parents at home and not in the classroom,” one speaker said.

The first speaker of the night was in favor of the proposed changes.

“Every family is built differently, but they all share a common goal. I think the policies on the agenda tonight are about a common goal. They’re about protecting our kids,” he said.

There were also many who spoke in opposition.

“The purpose of our school system should be to prepare them for the real world, which means a life outside the bubble of Grapevine-Colleyville. By engaging vitriolic discourse, we are doing our community and our children a disservice,” one speaker said.

Shannon Braun, a member of the board, praised the board’s move.

“The classroom is a place of intellectual learning, not ideological training. I am proud to say that with this package of policies we have neutralized the classroom at GCISD—teachers have been unleashed to focus on core instruction and invest in the lives and education of their students. The days of adults pushing their worldview and propagandizing our children, at taxpayer expense, are over,” Braun said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Leeman said her group of concerned parents, grandparents, and current GCISD students are currently working with the ACLU of Texas.

“We’re always paying attention, first of all. But we need to get more people to pay attention,” she said. “We actually have a stake in the game, so it gives me hope with seeing so many new people who have not spoken up before come out of the woodwork.”

Nicole Lyons, Executive Director of Communications for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, sent NBC 5 the following statement on Tuesday.

“Our practice is that after the Board has approved a policy, the district will plan procedures, education, and training to guide our daily work, which includes developing administrative regulations for some of the policies to ensure consistency at every level,” said district spokeswoman Nicole Lyons in a statement to NBC 5.

A definitive timeline on when the policy will be implemented has not been released.

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