In a crowded Killeen Independent School District meeting room Tuesday, members of a group calling itself Concerned Christian Citizens gathered to voice their objections to the teaching of social issues in KISD schools.
Group representatives at Tuesday’s board meeting were Pastor SaDallie Cole and teacher Joe Goodson, along with two other parents, Sharon Rhodes and Nancy Hoxworth, who is a retired KISD teacher.
The group began in March after Goodson brought his concerns to the KISD Career Center when a picture of transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson was pinned on the bulletin board during Women’s History Month.
Goodson explained this isn’t about exclusion of these groups but instead wanting schools to focus on education rather than social issues.
“On the far-left corner, we had the transgender flag and pictures of two men on the bulletin board during Women’s History Month,” Goodson said in addressing the board. “We have a complete clash of ideologies in education, and we need a policy that is neutral to both groups,” he said.
Pastor Cole said, “You are the mediators towards the parents and the head. You are not the bad guys, but you are the mediators.
“At least, give our children the choice on what they choose to learn,” Cole told the board.
The group believes strongly that the discussion on LGBTQ topics should between the students and their parents.
“We believe that our students should be learning about mathematics, science, and English rather than social issues” said former KISD school board president Terry Delano in a phone interview prior to the meeting. He said he joined the group after being concerned with a focus on social dialogues in KISD schools.
Retired KISD teacher Irene Andrews originally came to Tuesday’s meeting to address the district’s lack of a face mask mandate, but after hearing Goodson and Cole, she quickly included her concerns into her speech.
“After hearing the last three people, I come to this board to tell you that as an out lesbian, I am very concerned with what I have heard. I am not here to address what they have said, but I will in the future. We are a diverse community, and we should not disappear,” Andrews said.
Cole, Goodson and Delano make a similar talking point of wanting to have “a policy of neutrality”. They said this means having a policy that allows both Christian and LGBTQ people within KISD due to the group feeling as if they themselves have also been discriminated against.
When asked if there may be concerns over the group being discriminatory or spreading hate speech, Cole responded that he believes that people should be able to agree to disagree.
“I don’t hate anyone. I might not agree with them but I do not hate anyone. I just hate the policy and I believe that the parents should have more of a say in what their children are taught,” Cole said.
Delano, who wasn’t able to attend Tuesday night’s meeting, shared some of the same thoughts as well earlier in the day.
“I don’t hate anyone. Actually, I would love to have a conversation or a dialogue with anyone who may disagree with me or the group.”