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CISD board addresses ‘Gender Queer’ controversy

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Bulldog Colmesneil logoBy Mollie LaSalle

COLMESNEIL – At its regular monthly meeting last Monday, the Colmesneil ISD Board of Trustees addressed a letter from State Representative Jared Patterson (R-Frisco). 

Patterson, who represents Texas’s 106th Congressional District, sent the letter via e-mail to every superintendent in the state requesting that all school districts sign an attached pledge stating that they will not knowingly partner with, purchase from, or associate in any way with a vendor who has supplied pornographic materials to schools, nor allow pornographic materials to remain on campus. 

In his letter, Patterson said school children across the state have been exposed to material such as Gender Queer: A Memoir, which is a graphic novel. This book has become a hot button issue both nationwide and in the state of Texas among parents and Republican officials. 

The novel has been shelved in multiple Texas school libraries, but “sadly, we don’t know how many children across Texas have been exposed to this obscene material, or others like it,” Patterson added.

Patterson stated “this book, or anything similar, is absolutely inappropriate and should be removed from public school library shelves immediately.” Superintendent Eldon Franco commented that this should be “a parental issue”, and to his knowledge, “we don’t have anything of this sort” in the school’s library. He also said “I wouldn’t want my children reading it”. 

Board member Kenneth Adaway asked “do we have any say on what teachers have in their classrooms?” All members present voted to sign the pledge sent by Patterson.

The next item up was passing a resolution honoring State Representative James White for his work. White recently resigned his seat in the state House of Representatives to run for the statewide office of Agriculture Commissioner in an unsuccessful bid.

The board wanted to thank him for always being there, taking care of his district and schools. Franco said “He supported us, we want to support him, we should appreciate him as a board”. Board members unanimously approved the resolution honoring White.

Another item on the agenda discussed was hotly debated at a special called meeting on Feb. 7. Local resident John England had gone before the board with the possibility of the district purchasing his property which is adjacent to the new tennis courts. The property is a four-bedroom house on two acres of land. The house has had a lot of remodeling work done, with more planned, and the appraised value is worth

 considerably more that what England is asking for it. Kenneth Adaway said “if we can afford it, we need to go ahead and purchase it”. The board approved the proposal to purchase England’s property.

Elementary School Principal Yvette Carlton presented her monthly report to the board and was excited to announce that the elementary campus will have their first open house in two years on March 22 and will also have a spring book fair. Enrollment for Pre-K through sixth grade is up in March, from 256 to 259 students. Carlton announced her intent to retire at the February meeting.

Junior High/High School Principal Walter McAlpin informed board members that the UIL film kids made it all the way to the state semi-finals with their documentary about Coach Sergio Ramos: this achievement put them in top twelve in the state out of 1A-4A. Colmesneil’s team was the last 2A school left standing, all other qualifiers being 4A schools. FFA members are competing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo again this year and are gaining great experience. 

McAlpin has also recently announced his intent to retire from his position at the February board meeting.

Athletic Director Cody Day gave his report on spring sports programs; track, powerlifting, softball, baseball and tennis are front and center. 

The high school track teams placed first among all 2A schools at the recent Deweyville meet; the softball/baseball programs are performing well; the Tennis team has a district meet March 31, and the Powerlifting teams, both boys and girls are performing well. The girl’s powerlifting team competed at the state meet in Corpus Christi last week.

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