Keller School administrators to debate banning gender fluidity books, arming staff


The Keller School Board is set to consider a policy banning library books at all grade levels that includes discussion of gender fluidity.

The proposal drew large crowds when Keller administrators met Monday night, setting the stage for a North Texas school board meeting to once again be the place where LGBTQ students are placed at the center of a debate fierce politics.

Also on the Keller ISD agenda is a discussion about allowing certain district staff to carry arms on campus, at board meetings, and at other ISD-sponsored events. school.

Both policy plans may foreshadow the kinds of discussions conservative-controlled school boards could have across Texas this year. Keller is one of the few districts in Tarrant County where candidates backed by Patriot Mobile Action – a Christian PAC – have gained a foothold in recent elections.

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With the bill also beginning on Monday, Keller’s measures are also indicative of the kinds of proposals that could gain traction in the Legislative Assembly, bolstered by midterm Republican victories that could fuel a push to the right.

Keller has been at the heart of the fight for the books. Over the summer, the district pulled dozens of books from the shelves, including the Bible and an adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary. Some of the titles had previously passed a challenge in the district.

At the time, district spokesman Bryce Nieman said it was because administrators had recently approved a new policy requiring every previously challenged book to be reviewed.

The trustees have established a new far-reaching book policy in August.

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The rules prohibited content that includes horror, underage drug or alcohol use, tobacco use, the “glorification of suicide, self-harm or mental illness” and material considered to be sexually explicit in elementary schools. In higher grades, the guidelines become less restrictive.

The proposal on Monday’s agenda would further modify the guidelines. This would add “discussion or depiction of gender fluidity” to the list of topics that are not allowed at any level, from primary to secondary.

The draft policy available on the department’s website, defines gender fluidity as promoting the idea that it is possible for a person to be non-binary. It also applies the term to any support for therapies that alter a person’s body to match their “presumed gender different from the person’s biological sex”, as determined by their birth certificate.

The ACLU of Texas denounced it as an attempt to erase transgender and non-binary identity. The group accused the district of violating the First Amendment by restricting students’ access to ideas.

“It sends the message that transgender and non-binary students do not belong in the Keller ISD community,” writes the group.

In a Facebook postKISD Board Chairman Charles Randklev wrote that the content guidelines are intended to “protect children from sexually explicit and age-inappropriate educational materials”.

“The State of Texas considers performing sex reassignment procedures on minors to be child abuse,” he wrote. “Political topics like gender theory and sexual identity are best discussed within families, by parental choice, rather than in the classroom.”

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LGBTQ rights organizations largely consider gender-affirming care, including the use of hormone blockers and other medical procedures for people in transition, to be essential in preventing transgender and non-transgender people binaries from experiencing the negative side effects of gender dysphoria, which can include anxiety, depression, and eating. troubles.

Rules targeting transgender and non-binary students are increasingly being proposed across Texas and are likely to be front and center in the legislature. Also on Monday night, Frisco administrators were discuss a new bathroom policy.

Staff Arming

The board will also discuss a proposal to allow specific employees to have firearms on campus, if they get the superintendent’s approval, hold a handgun license and undergo training.

The choice to carry a weapon would be voluntary for employees. The superintendent would also have the ability to revoke an employee’s authorization to transport at any time.

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Keller wouldn’t be the only one allowing this. Texas has two programs that allow certain people to carry guns on campus.

“The proposed change allows employees who volunteer and meet very rigorous qualifications to serve as guardians to quickly protect our schools in the event of an attack,” Randklev wrote. “The council and the district would require very strict qualifications before an employee could carry a firearm.”

Nieman said in a statement that the district already has school resources on its branch campuses. The board could vote on the new policy next month.

“Regardless of direction,” Nieman wrote, “the safety of our students and staff will continue to be our utmost concern as we continue to prioritize an exceptional education at Keller ISD, while ensuring the safest possible environment.”

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation about pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, Garrett and Cecilia Boone, The Meadows Foundation, The Murrell Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University, Sydney Smith Hicks, Todd A. Williams Family Foundation and the University of Texas at Dallas. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.

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