Katy ISD school board approves hotly contested new gender identity policy in 4-3 vote

Jeff Ehling Image
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Katy ISD approves hotly contested gender identity policy in 4-3 vote
There was an overflow crowd of vocal parents and students at the meeting, which went well into the night. Now, teachers must tell parents if students want to change their name or use different pronouns.

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- The Katy Independent School District school board approved a new policy that requires parents to be told if students identify as transgender or non-binary.

The measure narrowly passed by a vote of four to three.

There was an overflow crowd of vocal parents and students at the meeting. More than 100 people signed up to speak, according to records from the district. Despite starting at 5 p.m. Monday, the vote didn't happen until after 11:30 p.m.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Katy ISD school board decision looms in 'gender fluidity' policy

The Katy ISD board is voting on a controversial gender identity policy that had dozens of people fired up on both sides of this topic.

At issue for many in the crowd is the requirement that staff members must tell parents if a student tells a teacher that they are transgender or non-binary.

The policy goes further than that, requiring Katy ISD staff members to tell parents if students want to change their name or use different pronouns at school.

District documents show the pronouns used for students will need to be consistent with the biological sex of a person unless the parent says a different pronoun can be used.

Even then, teachers may also refuse a student's request to be identified differently. The policy also bans teachers from sharing or teaching any information about gender fluidity.

RELATED: Katy ISD releases policy draft regarding approach on students' gender fluidity, use of pronouns

Katy ISD had the topic of gender fluidity on its agenda Monday, but it's not clear what exactly a proposed policy will mean for teachers and students.

"For a child to come to the decision that they may not be the gender in which they were born is a massive deal," Katy ISD Board Member Morgan Calhoun said. "It's huge and that is a family issue. That is a parental issue."

"Forty-four percent of these kids come from abusive homes, so you are about a one in two chance that they are going to call someone whose home is abusive," Board Member Dawn Champagne said.

Parents who support the policy say parents are the ones who need to know this information about their kids, while those who oppose the policy say school should be a safe space for kids with different gender identities.

For more on this story, follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEE ALSO: Starting this year, Katy ISD parents to be notified whenever child checks out library book

The Katy Independent School District is raising questions after the agenda item gender fluidity was discussed at a local board meeting on Monday.