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Published on April 23, 2024
Dripping Springs School District Halts Policy Update After LGBTQ+ Community OutcrySource: Unsplash/chris robert

In the face of widespread concern, the Dripping Springs Independent School District (DSISD) in Texas put the brakes on proposed revisions to its anti-discrimination and harassment policies, which initially included the removal of "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" from their language. The intended updates were slated for review during a school board meeting. Still, after public outcry and scrutiny, the board decided to delay further discussion, as confirmed by a district spokesperson on Monday.

The potential policy amendments had come under intense observation after DSISD finished a review supported by the Texas Association of School Boards, aiming for alignment with state and federal laws, which involved not only scrubbing repetitive language or fixing typos but also the policy revisions were perceived by some as a way to erode protections for LGBTQ+ students and staff, an interpretation that district officials insist was not their intent, affirming in a statement that, "The DSISD Board of Trustees and administration stand firm that bullying and discrimination are unacceptable and will not be tolerated – including if based on a person’s status as part of the LGBTQ+ community," as per KXAN.

At a previous board meeting, more than 40 attendees turned up to voice their concerns about the proposed changes which would have seen "sexual orientation and gender identity" stripped from the district's Statement of Nondiscrimination, as reported by KVUE. One attendee emphatically stated, "Our first reaction to the removal of a protection for any of our kids should be, 'No,'" highlighting the sense of shared responsibility for the safety of all students within the community.

The school district's efforts to amend its policies caught the attention of state leadership, as Texas Rep. Erin Zwiener took to social media to express "profound concern regarding the proposal to remove the terms 'gender identity' and 'sexual orientation'" from DSISD's policies and added that, "Removing protections from these vulnerable populations not only undermines their safety but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and exclusion," according to KXAN.