DOE Targets ISD for Parental Transparency Policy

Katy ISD Logo | Image by Katy ISD/Facebook
Katy ISD Logo | Image by Katy ISD/Facebook

The U.S. Department of Education has targeted Katy Independent School District by launching an investigation after a student-led advocacy group filed a complaint over the district’s policy requiring transparency with parents about their child’s gender identity.

The policy, passed in a 4-3 vote nine months ago, requires school officials to notify parents if their child requests to use a different name or pronoun at school. Teachers can only use the students’ pronouns corresponding to their sex at birth unless faculty gets permission from their parent or guardian, reported KHOU-TV Houston.

Residents of the district support the policy, while others oppose it.

“I really am for the idea that parents should be in charge of minor kids,” Shirley Thomas, a former Katy ISD parent, said last year, per KHOU.

“It really hurts that these people would put so much effort into hurting vulnerable children who have never done anything to them,” Katy ISD resident Sarah Allen said last year, reported KHOU.

Students Engaged in Advancing Texas filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Education this past November, reported The Texas Tribune.

Katy ISD board president Victor Perez said that the policy was “mischaracterized” by people from the community and stated that the policy was passed to relieve the staff of the burden of withholding information from parents, according to the Tribune.

Equality Texas, a non-profit policy group for LGBTQ Texans, expressed the hope that other students will report policies like the one that Katy ISD passed.

“When students place their trust in teachers and school administration, the school has a duty to preserve that trust,” Equality Texas member Johnathan Gooch said, per the Tribune.

Parent activists have criticized the move by the DOE to investigate Katy ISD.

“The Biden Administration is choosing an all-out assault on the children and families of Texas. Districts like Katy ISD need families now more than ever to support them and write to legislators for backup. Texas children do not belong to the federal government,” Texas parent activist Jennifer Crossland told The Dallas Express.

Local nonprofits have also spoken out against the DOE’s investigation of the district.

“Parents deserve complete transparency, and this was a great policy adopted by Katy ISD. The US Department of Education is completely out of line by opening this investigation,” Kelly Neidert of Texas Coalition for Kids told DX.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas ISD published a resource guide that advised students on how to transition genders, recommended specific transgender clinics, directed schools to provide students access to restrooms that do not necessarily match their sex at birth, and recommended pro-transgender books.

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