Parents in Spring, Texas, are expressing outrage after a local High School teacher quietly issued a survey to their children collecting information on their pronouns and gender identity without their knowledge.
On the first week of class, Grand Oaks High School instructor Melissa Clark handed out a survey to her English class, asking her students for their “preferred name,” pronouns, and pronoun preference. Clark also asked students if she should hide that information from the students’ parents in the survey with a question that read: “Can I use [your] preferred name and pronoun with your adult?”
According to Conroe Independent School District (CISD) administrators, Clark modified the survey after concerns were raised by parents.
“Not all students responded to the question concerning pronouns,” the legal team insisted, asserting that the questions about pronouns had been removed in the “modified” version. But a copy of the original survey was circulated on social media, prompting further backlash from members of the community. Despite the survey being “modified,” some students had already responded and submitted their document. The Publica was provided with redacted copies of a number of student submissions.
The majority of students responded by selecting “she/her” or “he/him” pronouns, while one selected “they/them.” But several student submissions included remarks from the youth expressing confusion and concern with the survey.
“I’m a man just like God intended,” one student wrote in the answer section.
“Uh no,” another wrote, while a third commented that “pronouns [are] crazy.”
A copy of the survey was also shared on Facebook by Attorney and House Representative Briscoe Cain, who offered to assist parents legally if their child had received such a questionnaire without their knowledge.
The Publica reached out to the Conroe Independent School District on whether any other teachers had issued similar surveys to students, but was told that Clark’s class had been the only one impacted.
“Each teacher decides whether to give students questionnaires at the start of the school year for the purpose of learning about their students,” the district said, but admitted that parents were not notified before Clark attempted to gather gender identity information from the youth.
The Conroe Independent School District is one of a handful of schools in Texas yet to adopt a policy requiring staff to notify parents if their child expresses gender identity-related confusion, and the lack of guidance has led to controversies in the past.
In 2021, the district reportedly instructed teachers to validate a student’s self-declared gender identity without informing parents.
Rena Beadle, a former 6th grade teacher for Grangerland Intermediate, told The Publica that during a staff meeting that year, administration shared a Zoom presentation featuring examples of “affirmation.”
Beadle, who left the district voluntarily earlier this year, says that staff was given an example featuring a fictitious student named George, and explained “if George wanted to be called Suzy, [we were] required to call him Suzy, but not to tell his parents.”
Beadle explained that CSID administration deferred to Title IX as the reason behind the guidance.
“[Administration] told me that they called the district to make sure they were to say those things. They were ‘flabbergasted’ by what they were told to say and called them prior to the staff meeting to make sure that was what they were supposed to say,” Beadle said. “Title IX was never intended to keep information from parents concerning their children”
In a brief statement to The Publica, Texas House Representative Steve Toth expressed concern about the district’s repeated attempts to keep children’s “gender identity” secret from their parents.
“The fact that CISD has known for well over a year that this was going on, shows their contempt for parents and their wishes for their children” Rep. Toth said.
The Conroe Independent School District has been embroiled in controversy recently following an incident in which a student was brutally beaten by a district bus aide.
As reported by The Publica last month, Donald Tisdale was terminated after disturbing video began to circulate on social media showing him physically assaulting a student.
In the terrifying 32-second clip, Tisdale was seen brutally beating a 17-year-old boy in the aisle of the school bus using what appeared to be a bottle. The bus was in the process of transporting students home for the day at the time of the incident.
Following a brief investigation into the incident, Tisdale was fired and charged with assault. It was later learned that he had a past criminal record the District may have been aware of.