SAISD Non-Discrimination Changes Draw Protest

By Bill O’Neil

Some changes to the San Antonio Independent School District’s non-discrimination policy are creating a lot of debate.

Critics are raising their voices after those changes covering sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression were recently–and quietly adopted by the SAISD Board.

“The public discussion that was open and transparent at the Texas Capitol did not happen at the San Antonio Independent (School District) School Board before their decision was made” said Jonathan Saenz with Texas Values, voicing his frustration over the process that led to the changes.

Many critics are especially concerned over what the changes might mean when it comes to bathroom policy across the district.

“Now the government is coming in to the home of every family that attends SAISD” said the Justice Foundation’s Allan Parker.

Others voiced similar frustration.

“I want you to slide your feet if you will for a moment inside the shoes of a young girl that has been assaulted sexually” said Pastor Charles Flowers.

Those critics plan on making sure the Board hears their concerns.

For its part, the District said the policy change has no impact on bathrooms.

In a statement obtained by KTSA News, SAISD said “This updated policy does not change how our facilities are used. This does not allow for boys to go in to girls showers or girls to go in to boys showers. If we have a request for special accommodations, we will work with a student on a case by case basis to provide a single-occupancy restroom–as well as provide private areas for changing and showering as much as possible.”

The District said it now has a more inclusive policy that ensures all students know they are respected and have the right to an educational environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

“Within just a few days, we’ve had over 700 people from San Antonio that have signed a petition asking the San Antonio Independent School District to rescind their new policy on sexuality, bathrooms, shower rooms and locker rooms” Saenz said.

SAISD is one of a number of school districts around the State that have put in place such changes in recent months.

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