Bryan ISD approves changes to student handbook and code of conduct

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 1:44 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan ISD Board of Trustees approved changes to the 2021-2022 Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook during a meeting held Monday.

A required equity audit done by a third-party consultant recommended the district change pronouns in the district documents from he or she to they/them.

Residents who spoke at the meeting voiced concerns that this type of language would be pushed beyond district documents and into the classroom.

“At no point in time, ever has there been a push or a drive or a change or has it come up at a board meeting to do to motivate this type of change,” said Mark McCall, school board president. “I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell somebody how they have to respond to a student or they can only respond in this way because again that erodes that individual, that principal to make a connection with that student.”

Superintendent Christie Whitbeck says staff first presented the Board of Trustees with the proposal last month resulting in lots of community feedback.

“We went back as a team, my administrative cabinet-level team and we looked at other options and we came up with what I would call a very manual type of language,” said Whitbeck.

Ultimately deciding to use the word ‘student’ when necessary and to eliminate pronouns altogether.

“You could go with a plural pronoun or going with identifying the role, student, parents, and from a readability standpoint that stays the same, but certainly it’s more specific,” said McCall.

“We tried to just take the controversy out and make it very clear because right now with everything going on we need to keep the main thing the main thing. And the main thing is school,” said Whitbeck.

Whitbeck says she’s pleased to see the community getting involved with district changes but hopes everyone focuses on what’s really important.

“We hear you but the message is also that in this day and time there is no way to please everybody because opinions are polarized. You know this about masks, you know this about everything. We are going to do the very best we can and we are going to keep the child at the center of our decisions,” said Whitbeck.

The school board also approved grading guideline revisions to Social Studies grade requirements for grades 3-4 and homework allocations and “edgenuity grading guidelines” for grades 5-12.

Dress code policy changes were made for intermediate students allowing athletic shorts to be worn, a policy already in place for high school students.

High school students will be allowed to have what’s described as “unnatural hair color”. The rule will stay in place for elementary and intermediate students.

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