Monday night the Wimberley Independent School District Board of Trustees voted against a Student Welfare Policy that would add “sexual orientation”, “gender identity”, (SOGI) and “gender expression” as special protected classes. One version of the proposed policy even added a new term, “members of the LGBTQ community”, without defining what that term means. You may recall that legislation similar to this policy was filed this during the 86th legislative session and earned the term, “Ban the Bible” bills. The Board members voted against the policy 4-3 after private discussions with school board legal counsel. Board Members voting against the measure were Rob Campbell, Will Conley, Ken Strange, and Joe Malone. Those voting in favor were Lori Olson, Traci Maxwell, and Gina Fullerton

Mary Elizabeth Castle, Policy Advisor for Texas Values said: “Sexual orientation and gender Identity policies empower the government to target people of faith, threaten free speech, and violate student’s privacy. We thank the Wimberley ISD School Board for doing the right thing by rejecting this ‘Ban the Bible’ style policy.”

School policies with “SOGI” language have led to teachers being fired for not using “specific” pronouns, allowed boys to compete on girls’ sports teams, allowed mixed genders to share housing accommodations on overnight school trips or in bathrooms or locker rooms, and discriminate against the free speech of students and teachers who hold sincerely held religious beliefs.

The Wimberley Board Meeting was packed with people who opposed the proposed “SOGI” policy.  One mother testified against it claiming that the Board of Trustees did not give proper 72-hour notice of the policy being on the agenda.

Texas Values Policy Advisor Mary Elizabeth Castle was at the school board meeting testifying against the policy. Castle informed the district these terms would create a special protected class that is out of step with state and federal law. Castle also warned that LGBTQ activists plan to use the policy as a basis to sue the school district and individual employees rather than a way to protect students. This would lead the school to face numerous lawsuits if they adopted the policy.

After public testimony, the board met in Executive Session for a little more than two hours. Once the board returned, the policy was presented and voted down. Board members Will Conley, Joe Malone, and Rob Campbell expressed that gay and transgender students are already protected under the current language of the Student Welfare policy that addresses harassment, bullying, and discrimination.

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