Parents, Taxpayers Keep the Heat On San Antonio ISD Board for Un-Vetted Bathroom Policy; No Supporters Spoke Out
SAN ANTONIO – Last night about a dozen taxpayers and San Antonio family members spoke out against a new San Antonio ISD sexuality and bathroom policy that could allow boys into girls’ showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
And though last week’s board meeting brought out around 50 people (most of whom were against the new policy) to speak during the citizen’s comments portion of the standing-room-only meeting, this week no one spoke in favor of the new school policy – only parents, relatives, and taxpayers spoke, who demanded the policy be immediately rescinded and who have previously asked for the policy to be included as an official agenda item for the elected SAISD school board to openly discuss this issue.
SAISD initially approved the policy last month before parents were given reasonable notice of the matter and has refused to include this issue as an official agenda item on to be discussed by board members in openly in public during the last two board meetings.
More than 1,300 San Antonio residents have signed a petition opposing the new sexuality and bathroom policy, which was approved with little public notice or opportunity for public feedback earlier this month, sparking a public outcry. This new LGBT supported school policy adds “sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression” to a list of categories that entitle students, faculty and staff to discrimination protections that currently exist for categories such as race, national origin, and sex.
Some notable speakers at tonight’s meeting included: Pastor Steve Newton of San Antonio’s Crownridge Ministries, Mike Knuffke of San Antonio Family Association; Pastor Charles Flowers and Janice Flowers of Faith Outreach Center of San Antonio, and San Antonio ISD alumni, family members, and taxpayers. Lester Long, a father in the district, spoke, followed by Gloria Riviera, an SAISD grandmother, Catherine Aranda, with family enrolled in SAISD, and Sonja Harris, with alumni of SAISD her family.
Of those who spoke with deep SAISD ties, Elizabeth Gonzales (herself a graduate of SAISD’s Highlands High School, a parent of three girls in neighboring Northside ISD, and with other family members in SAISD), said she is concerned this kind of unaccountable policymaking could spread to other school districts, including her daughters.’
“The community here in San Antonio needs to understand that we’re here tonight for every student – not just one particular kind of student,” Gonzales said, following her remarks. “If we’re truly wanting to be united, we must be fair and just to every student. And to be fair, we must make sure parents and students are being given ample opportunity to come to the table and be heard. I believe in doing that there will be change. And once the board sees that, we can then reach a middle ground together that works for our community.”
Pastor Charles Flowers, while optimistic that the policy can be rescinded, expressed frustration with the board’s apparent unwillingness to reconsider the bathroom policy.
“While the school district board is, at face, very polite and asking for reasonable courtesy, you get the feeling that they really don’t intend to do anymore on this issue,” Flowers said, following the meeting. “I hope good judgment prevails and the school board sees how important this is to all parents and students of SAISD, and that they will give them full opportunity to discuss policy before any new policy like this is implemented.”
Speakers were limited to three minutes each. Some highlights may be found on our Twitter account (@TxValues). An archived video will be made available on the San Antonio ISD’s website at the following link: http://www.saisd.net/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6037&Itemid=0
San Antonio ISD policy revisions: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=41065944
Press release: Press conference by supporters of privacy in SAISD restrooms, showers, locker rooms, and other intimate facilities: https://txvalues.org/2017/09/11/parents-pastors-san-antonio-isd-starts-bathroom-war
Press release: Bathroom Privacy Debate Hits San Antonio ISD; New Government Rule Sneaked In: https://txvalues.org/2017/08/24/breaking-bathroom-privacy-debate-hits-san-antonio-isd-new-government-rule-sneaked-in
Texas Privacy Act information page: http://www.txvalues.org/protectprivacy
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