Non-binary teacher sparks calls for dress code changes

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A heated debate over dress code and gender identity spilled over social media and into a crowded Caddo Parish School Board meeting on Tuesday with concerns over indoctrination and demands to change the district dress code for teachers.

Parents and community members from the district and beyond showed up at the meeting to voice their concerns about a transgender, non-binary music teacher at the University Elementary School who prefers the gender-neutral honorary Mx. rather than Madame and dresses very colorfully.

Those concerns appear to have been sparked by a video shared on social media of the teacher saying they go around and even makes its way to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. In the video, the teacher says they’re “not allowed to come out as non-binary trans at school” and instead dresses “like a vomit unicorn” to express themselves instead.

“So of course my response to that is to be as obnoxiously queer as possible,” they say in the video, pointing to rainbow leopard hair and rainbow glasses.

“Basically, my goal is to look like a unicorn that threw me up.”

The video itself makes its way to conservative commentator Ben Shapirowho took the opportunity to claim that “there is a group of social justice activists whose sole purpose is to get into schools and indoctrinate your children with this kind of crap.”

Attendance at Tuesday’s school board meeting appears to be driven at least in part by this video and a call from an advocacy parent for those concerned about it to come forward and stand up for their values. Those who showed up asked the council to adjust the district’s dress code policies for teachers.

“As a Christian woman, I want them to be brought up in school; I want schools to teach them to read, write and count. I don’t want them to be taught things that I wouldn’t teach them at home about gender about sex,” said Pam Coke, who identified as a Caddo Parish Grand parent. “No one is trying to get anyone fired in this situation. What we’re doing here is we just want the Caddo Parish School Board to follow their dress code policy. We don’t have the feels like it’s happening.”

But supporters also came out in force, saying the teacher should continue to dress as he sees fit as long as he follows professional guidelines. Many parents with students in the music teacher’s class spoke of their student’s love for them, while others dismissed the whole issue as nothing more than an attempt to get clicks and d intimidate the teacher.

“What Caddo Parish decides to do sets a precedent for how they are going to treat future trans, non-binary and other LGBT teachers and as someone who wants to go into education which is important to me,” Ashford said. McLain, resident of Caddo Parish.

A fellow teacher called the whole debate a distraction that diverts attention from what matters.

“It’s not a problem and I feel like we’re already short of teachers, so if I can come out and support our teachers here in Caddo Parish, I will,” said Aubrey Garcia, a teacher from the parish of Caddo. “It doesn’t matter their gender, their pronouns, their hair color, whatever.”

The council has shown no interest in changing district policies and said it would take no direct action in response to concerns raised on Tuesday, citing it as a “personnel issue”. Instead, they say they will leave the matter up to the University Primary School administration.

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