Dripping Springs community voice concerns on proposed LGBTQ changes in district policy

Advocates in Dripping Springs are concerned about proposed changes to the Dripping Springs ISD's anti-discrimination policy

They say DSISD is removing protection for those in the LGBTQ+ community by taking out the terms "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" from the policy. 

The item was removed from Monday night's school board meeting agenda, but about 40 people still came for public comment on the topic. 

"The school district is already required by federal law to protect all of these classes, so specifically removing these two classes while keeping the rest of the policy in place just doesn't make any sense. It feels more than performative, it feels dangerous to LBGTQ kids," said Christopher Roberson, DSISD parent and board member of Pride of Dripping Springs.

Those against the change are concerned about the harm done to the LGBTQ community. 

"LGBTQ youth experience bullying and harassment at a much higher rate than other teenagers," State Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) said. 

Zwiener wrote a letter to the school board asking them to reconsider the change. 

"I'm a parent in Dripping Springs ISD, I'm an out, bisexual woman," she said. "If my daughter ever gets attacked for who her mom is, I want to know her school is going to protect her and stand up for her." 

DSISD says in a statement: 

"In March, Dripping Springs ISD completed a review of its policies with the guidance of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) to ensure alignment with state and federal laws and to standardize language across policies and procedures. The recommended policy updates included certain changes for consistency that have been perceived by some as an attempt to remove protections for LGBTQ+ students and staff. The removal or modification of protections against bullying or discrimination was never the intent of these changes and would not be the result. 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. We care for the welfare and protection of all students and staff, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. The policy updates have been removed from the board meeting agenda so that the Trustees can seek additional legal counsel and will be revisited at a future date."

"There's utterly no reason to change this language, there's nothing stopping Dripping Springs ISD from having a policy that is more protective than state and federal law and they absolutely should," Zwiener said.