These School Districts Are Removing ‘Gender Identity,’ ‘Sexual Orientation’ From The Classroom In 2023

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  • School districts are looking to change policies that have labeled “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” as protected classes for the upcoming semester. 
  • A September New York Times poll showed 70% of registered voters are strongly or somewhat against teachers pushing “gender identity” or “sexual orientation” on elementary students.
  • “[Students must] conduct themselves in accordance with their God-given biological sex as it relates to the use of personal pronouns, dress code, use of bathrooms, and participation in school-sponsored activities,” one policy states. 

Several school districts have removed “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” as protected classes in their policies ahead of the 2023 school year.

School districts in Nebraska, Texas and Pennsylvania have introduced new policies or amendments that would alter current practices, including references to “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” The Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, which oversees large areas of churches and Catholic schools in and around Omaha, announced earlier this month that it was changing its gender policy, initially introduced in the spring, and would require students to behave and be treated according to their biological gender.

“[Students must] conduct themselves in accordance with their God-given biological sex as it relates to the use of personal pronouns, dress code, use of bathrooms, and participation in school-sponsored activities,” the policy states. (RELATED: Teacher Under Investigation For ‘Heartbreaking’ Lesson That Split Class By Gender, Made Nonbinary Teen Feel ‘Isolated’)

The policy goes into effect for the 2023-24 school year and will affect “52 archdiocesan elementary schools and 12 coed high schools,” according to the Omaha World-Herald. Students struggling with gender dysphoria can receive help establishing an “accompaniment plan.”

“Admission or retention will not be denied based solely on a student’s experience of gender dysphoria,” the policy read. “If a student experiences gender dysphoria and/or incongruence, school leaders and pastors shall partner with parents to establish an accompaniment plan. This plan must follow the teachings of the Catholic faith.”

The policy originally stated that students or families that showed hostility toward the school’s traditional views on gender issues could face disciplinary action and/or dismissal, but was revised after backlash from residents within the district, according to New Ways Ministry. The revised version advised that school staff work with families seeking accommodations beyond the ones provided in the policy to aid in creating a transfer plan.

“If at any time, parents, guardians or students desire accommodations or accompaniment that do not follow this policy, it may be necessary to begin the school transfer process for the good of the student and the school community,” the policy stated.

Omaha is not the only district seeing these types of changes. In Southlake, Texas, the Carroll Independent School District (ISD) board voted to amend its student code of conduct to remove the terms gender identity, sexual orientation and religion, according to The Dallas Morning News.

During the public comments phase on Dec. 12, 13 people spoke against the amendment claiming it would target “non-straight, non-cisgender and non-Christian identities,” according to The Dallas Morning News. However, several individuals spoke up in favor of the amendment, citing concerns regarding the “ever-expanding” list of people needing protection from “discrimination.”

“The testimony we’ve heard so far, by and large, would be very compelling if it was based on facts; the truth is that it’s not,” Juan Saldivar, a resident of Southlake and Carroll ISD parent, stated during the meeting’s public comments portion. “Not a single protection has been diminished from the student code of conduct, [since] the nondiscrimination statement does not afford or deny anyone any protections at all. That statement is simply a declarative statement that says that the district is in compliance with the law.”

RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA – MAY 17: Newly donated LGBTQ+ books are displayed in the library at Nystrom Elementary School on May 17, 2022 in Richmond, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A CISD spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the changes to the student code of conduct were being misconstrued.

“The correct, more accurate phrasing would be that CISD updated the Student Code of Conduct so that students would not be harassed nor discriminated against according to their sex, gender or religious preferences,” the spokesperson explained. “In fact, CISD really felt that updating the policy would help broaden the protections for all kids, and that’s why we felt following the US Department of Education’s statement of non-discrimination was the right thing to do, as it provided the broadest protections for all kids while also following the agency that regulates us.”

The final vote took place on Dec. 19, with the board voting 5-1 in favor of the amendment which will take effect in Carroll ISD’s 10 schools for the upcoming school year. Despite policies like Carroll ISD’s being unpopular with some in their community, a September poll showed a large majority of the country is looking for a new approach to these issues.

A New York Times/Siena poll showed 70% of registered voters strongly or somewhat opposed teachers introducing elementary school students to gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom. Poll respondents were less concerned when it came to middle and high school students, but still strongly or somewhat opposed it at 54% for middle school and 42% for high school.

Central Bucks School District in Pennsylvania echoed the poll’s findings. Earlier this month, a committee voted to pass policy 321 onto the school board for a vote which originally restricted displays promoting “political, sociopolitical, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious beliefs,” according to the Courier Times.

The policy was slated to be approved in November but was halted by an investigation, prompted by the ACLU, over accusations that the school attempted to “silence discussions related to sexuality or gender identity,” according to the Courier Times. In the current version, the terms “gender identity,” “sexual orientation” and “religious beliefs” have been removed from the policy, but the essence remains the same.

“Neutrality and balance in classroom instruction are desired in order to create an optimal learning environment and atmosphere of inclusiveness, where all students are welcome,” the policy states. “Because views and beliefs about partisan, political, or social policy matters are often deeply personal, employees should not, during assigned work hours, advocate to students concerning their views or beliefs on these matters.”

The Omaha Archdiocese and Central Bucks School District did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

This story has been updated with comment from the Carroll Independent School District.

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