EducationLocal NewsKeller ISD Updates Book Content Guidelines to Prohibit ‘Gender Fluidity’

As part of its response to concerns about content in school materials, the board amended its policy to forbid books discussing “gender fluidity.”
November 15, 2022
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As part of its continuing focus on books used for instruction or shelved in district libraries, the Keller Independent School District board of trustees amended its content guidelines to restrict the inclusion of books that discuss or depict “gender fluidity.”

The vote was four in favor and two opposed, with one abstention.

Dr. Charles Randklev, president of the board, said he believed the adjustment to the original policy passed in August was “good governance.”

He responded to the criticism of several public speakers who said the policy would marginalize students who believe they are transgender. “This policy is not marginalizing any group,” he said, adding that the policy was aimed at gender ideology contained in books, not at any specific students.

Trustees Ruthie Keyes and Bev Dixon opposed the measure. Keyes said she wanted to “stand up for teachers and librarians to say we trust them.” Dixon argued that the policy tells “a portion of students that they don’t exist.”

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Trustee Chris Roof abstained from the vote after saying he was “struggling” with the issue.

The definition of gender fluidity in the policy is “any theory or ideology that: (1) espouses the view that gender is merely a social construct; (2) espouses the view that it is possible for a person to be any gender or none based solely on that person’s feelings or preferences; or (3) supports hormone therapy or other medical treatments or procedures to temporarily or permanently alter a person’s body or genetic make-up so that it ‘matches’ a self-believed gender that is different from the person’s biological sex.”

Emotions were high during the public comment section of the meeting as dozens of people voiced their support or opposition to the content guidelines amendment.

Supporters commonly thanked the board for focusing on the basics of education like reading, writing, and math, rather than gender ideology.

Several supporters pointed to evidence that children and adolescents do not have a fully developed frontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for logic and decision-making, adding that students don’t need to be presented with material that could confuse them about their gender.

Board members were told they were “fueling hatred,” “wasting district resources,” “lying,” and engaging in “partisan politics” by some opponents. Suicidal tendencies among children who identify as LGBT was raised by several speakers, one of whom warned the board that “blood would be on their hands” if a student took his or her own life.

Another issue on the agenda raised significant interest with the public. The district is considering implementing a “Guardian” program for school safety.

The Guardian plan allows the school district to authorize certain employees to carry weapons on campus. Weapons are generally not allowed on school campuses, but the Texas Penal Code provides an exception if written authorization is given by the district.

According to Trustee Micah Young, 318 districts across Texas have implemented the Guardian program with no incidents of violence or accidents involving those who are carrying.

A number of speakers opposed the program, saying they don’t want teachers armed, especially in elementary schools.

Supporters of implementing the Guardian program thanked the board for looking for ways to protect the students, with several adding that “the best deterrent to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The board plans to provide more details about the potential program to the public and consider it further at its December meeting.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.