Title IX Changes Fire Up School Board Meeting

Grapevine-Colleyville’s school board meeting | Image by WFAA
Grapevine-Colleyville’s school board meeting | Image by WFAA

Nearly a score of residents turned out to Grapevine-Colleyville’s school board meeting on Monday to support or oppose two successful actions the trustees were planning to take regarding Title IX and a failed lawsuit against a member of the board of trustees.

A total of 17 speakers addressed the board during the public comment period, with 12 voicing support for passing a resolution against the Biden administration’s recent Title IX changes and three against it.

GCISD’s resolution, which ultimately passed, comes after President Joe Biden’s executive order directing all K-12 schools and universities to include gender identity as a designation that triggers sexual discrimination protections, as well as doing away with in-person hearings for sexual assault cases, as covered in The Dallas Express.

Gov. Greg Abbott responded with a letter and order to Texas secondary educational institutions. Abbott wrote that Texas would not comply with the changes, stating the change “contradicts the original purpose and spirit of the law to support the advancement of women.”

“Last week, I instructed the Texas Education Agency to ignore President Biden’s illegal dictate of Title IX. Today, I am instructing every public college and university in the State of Texas to do the same,” Abbott said.

He elaborated that the changes exceed Biden’s “authority as President in order to impose a leftist belief on the next generation.”

“Texas will stand up not only to President Biden’s rewrite of Title IX, but also his plans to destroy the legacy of women’s collegiate sports. Texas will fight to protect those laws, to protect Texas women, and to deny the President’s abuse of authority,” he wrote.

The conflict between the state’s highest executive and the nation’s highest executive has put local school districts such as GCISD in a tense position.

The language of the district’s resolution acknowledged this conflict and lamented these changes as a potential threat to the “safety and well-being of GCISD students.” The resolution also “denounc[ed]” the changes made by the Biden administration and urged the president to “reconsider” them and “engage in meaningful dialogue with stakeholders.”

Another subject stirring up the GCISD meeting on Monday was paying the legal fees incurred while dealing with a lawsuit by a former district principal, James Whitfield. As previously covered in The Dallas Express, Whitfield sued the district and trustee Tammy Nakamura for the latter allegedly breaking a settlement agreement mediated between him and his former employer.

Whitfield, who was employed between May 2020 and June 2021 at Colleyville Heritage High School, had split with the district after he was accused of sewing racial division in the community by the GCISD board. He also suffered lackluster end-of-year evaluation in June 2021 and made various media appearances, allegedly making several claims that GCISD later referred to as “dishonest” in settlement documents, The Dallas Express previously reported.

When Whitfield and GCISD separated, they entered into a contractual agreement not to disparage each other. Whitfield pursued legal action after Nakamura, who was not a member of the school board at the time of the agreement, said at a local Republican Party Meeting that Whitfield was a “total activist” for “pushing a movement through” and that this was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” leading to the end of his employment.

Nakamura previously told DX that the case was politically motivated and that she had expected it would be dismissed.

The case against GCISD was not only dismissed but dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be brought again. Given this judicial action, GCISD can pursue a refund for legal fees from Whitfield, which was the point of contention in the recent meeting.

While many of those speaking during the public comment period supported pursuing a refund for legal fees, emphasizing that the case was found to be without merit and that recouping the fees would benefit the district financially. Those against seeking the refund argued the suit against Nakamura had been justified, though they did not address why it would benefit the district to leave money on the table.

A directive to general counsel to reclaim legal fees from Whitfield 6 to 0, with one abstention from a new school board member who had been sworn in that same day and claimed not to know enough about the matter to cast a vote.

In a public statement just before the vote, Nakamura chided Whitfield and celebrated the end of “one man’s politically motivated [crusade].”

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article