Here is the first article that was written about the matter. 

Houston Chronicle  

Saturday, August 28, 1993

(Top article on the front page!)

by George Flynn

Dateline Katy

Donald W. Hart believes he caught his children with indecent literature--the kind forbidden in the Katy school district's Student Code of Conduct handbook.

But in this case, the questionable material is the handbook itself.

Issued to every student -- from first graders to high school seniors -- the discipline manual has turned some faces as red as the apple on its multicolored cover

Critics are calling it required reading with an R rating.

Parents and children must sign and return forms saying they have examined the handbook's contents and understand them.  That understanding gets more explicit on Page 7, under the heading of "public lewdness."

It bans students from sexual misconduct in public, or in private when others around them may be offended.  If there are any doubts about what that means, the manual clears up the confusion.  Three forbidden acts are listed as sexual contact, sexual intercourse and deviate sexual intercourse.

And the fourth?  To quote the handbook:  "An act involving contact between the person's mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.

That language has left some parents crying foul.  Hart, who has sons 11 and 13, says the details are hardly suitable -- much less necessary -- for tender minds.

"Would you have your 11-year old thinking about people having anal sex with a chicken?" he asked Friday.  "It is offensive and entirely inappropriate.  No thought went into the preparation of this manual."

School officials counter that considerable thought went into it.  They call it the best balance between legal concerns and dealing with a delicate issue for the young.

Bonnie Holland, the district's executive director for special services, traced the wording back to the passage of Senate Bill 7 in May.

That 200-page piece of legislation, which reshapes state funding for districts, also added public lewdness to the list of specific offenses for which students may be expelled from schools.

Regardless of the law, Holland said, expulsion can be expected to create legal fights on whether offenders knew they were violating a specific regulation by their conduct.

Failure to include details, she said, "could prohibit school officials from taking appropriate disciplinary action for the crudest of behaviors."

Administrators already have been stymied in pushing one student for sexual misconduct, Holland said.

To reduce legal problems, district officials added the exact terms stated in the Texas Penal Code provision on public lewdness.

Holland said a few parents have complained, but she believes the prose is too advanced for most young pupils to understand on their own.

"Once we explain the reasons behind the language on this difficult issue, the parents are understanding," Holland said.

However, the 1993-94 handbook, appears destined to become a limited-edition collector's item.  "It is too late to do anything about it this year because it already has been printed and put in the hands of students," said Joe Adams, school board president.  "But I feel like we can temper the wording of it before next year."

Adams said the board approved the current handbook without being aware of each revision in its 31 pages.

In general, trustees were merely trying to "put some teeth" into enforcement of the rules,  he said.

"Unfortunately, some of the wording was too explicit."

Until this year, the Katy district's references to sexual  violations and conduct mirrored those still contained in the handbooks of other district contacted Friday.

For example, the Houston Independent School District outlines basic regulations against sexual exposure, harassment, assaults and related misconduct.

"The language covers basic morals and common decency -- no 'genitals, mouths, animals or fowl,' said the Houston district's media coordinator, Leonor Estrella.

Gary Reese, information specialist at the Texas Education Agency headquarters in Austin was puzzled y the wording in the Katy handbook. 

"Are they referring to bestiality or what?" he asked.

Reese said the state agency leaves the state's 1,048 school districts to set their own policies on discipline and what goes into their student handbooks.

"We stress independence and local control on that," Reese said, adding that he knows of no districts with such specific terms.

Ironically, the most controversial section --about misconduct with animals and fowl -- has never been the subject of a disciplinary action in the Katy district.

Holland said it was added simply because it was part of the Penal Code language.

Katy officials said sexual misconduct offenses between students are rare.  In the past, those had been covered under more general regulations banning disruptive behavior among the district's 21,000 students.

Hart notes that another section of the handbook bans the distribution of material that is "obscene or sexually inappropriate for the age and maturity of the audience..."

"To provide this material to pre-adolescents is a violation of the district's own policy," he said.  "It is an injustice to these kids."