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Texas school district removes LGBTQ terms, reintroduces religion in non-discrimination-policy

The Carroll Independent School District (CISD) board of trustees, based in the highly-regarded Southlake, Texas, recently approved modifications to the language used in its policies against discrimination and harassment, aiming to align them more closely with state and federal guidelines regarding protected classifications.

The Policy Review Committee of CISD recommended a series of revisions to the student code of conduct and student handbooks for the 2023-24 academic year. This includes the incorporation of religion and the removal of terms related to LGBTQ from its non-discrimination and harassment policies.

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Strong student safety and non-discrimination policies implemented by CISD

“CISD has a deep commitment towards maintaining the safety and welfare of our students with highly acclaimed training protocols and procedures.” 

“The updated Student Handbook details our non-discrimination policy that guarantees all students protection against discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age,” expressed a CISD spokesperson in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.

The board also decided on a policy that disallows the requirement for teachers to refer to students by a pronoun that is inconsistent with their biological sex, as well as one that mandates students to use the restroom that aligns with their sex, not their gender identity.

CISD board approves policy changes for 2023-24 academic year

The 7-member board considered public opinions before approving these policy changes for the 2023-24 academic year, starting on August 15.

A few neighboring independent school districts (ISDs), such as Keller and Grapevine-Colleyville, have comparable policies.

Ranked as the No. 2 school district in Texas by the Public School Review, CISD serves over 8,400 students across 11 schools in the wealthy Tarrant County district.

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CISD under investigation for discrimination by U.S. Department of Education

It has faced accusations of “gender and sex discrimination,” racial discrimination, and rights infringement of students with disabilities since 2021. 

These allegations have instigated eight investigations by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, as per The Dallas Morning News.

Religion added to non-discrimination statement by CISD

Credit: DepositPhotos

Last year, the district omitted references to religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity from its non-discrimination statement.

Assistant Superintendent for Administration and member of the Policy Review Committee, Tamy Smalskas, presented these amendments to the board and the attendees.

She conveyed that the committee’s suggestion to reintroduce religion to the non-discrimination statement would not impact the existing protection for all students and staff but would bring consistency with the language of non-discrimination used in federal and state policies.

CISD revises non-discrimination statement, removes LGBTQ-related terms

The newly revised statement of non-discrimination now reads, “The District prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any student.”

“Discrimination is an action taken against or in favor of a student based on the student’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law that denies access to an education program or activity,” as stated in an online document.

Consequently, LGBTQ-related terms such as gender identity, gender-based, and sexual orientation were removed from the non-discrimination and harassment policies for staff and students.

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CISD board implements new policies on bathroom, pronoun usage

“CISD will continue to safeguard all our students from discrimination or harassment,” assured Ms. Smalskas. The policies regarding harassment were also adjusted to match the non-discrimination policy.

Furthermore, the board introduced two fresh policies. One necessitates students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex on their birth certificates. The second policy bars the requirement for teachers and other staff to use a pronoun that does not align with a student’s biological sex.

The board’s approval of these policies came after hearing out community members who raised concerns about the possible hostile environment these changes could create. However, the board remained firm, assuring parents and staff of the district’s commitment to protecting all members of its staff and student body.

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