Conroe ISD residents criticize and defend trustee over his response to Willis drag queen event

Dale Inman listening to comments at a CISD board meeting
Conroe ISD trustee Dale Inman listening to one of the more than 30 speakers who discussed his comments on a Willis High School drag queen event. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Conroe ISD trustee Dale Inman listening to one of the more than 30 speakers who discussed his comments on a Willis High School drag queen event. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Controversy over a Willis Independent School District drag queen makeup class has now bled into Conroe ISD, with approximately 30 parents, teachers, taxpayers and students speaking at a CISD board of trustees meeting.

On Nov. 19, CISD residents spoke fiercely for more than an hour against and in defense of trustee Dale Inman, who made several public Facebook posts about a drag queen who was invited to speak to a cosmetology class at Willis on Oct. 18.

Kris Hodgins, a mathematics teacher in CISD, was one of several individuals who referred to Inman as a bully for calling the LGBT community “one of the most vile, hate-filled communities I’ve ever come across” and comparing the community to Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

“As a Marine myself with two combat tours to Iraq, I can assure you that that is the stupidest statement I have ever heard,” Hodgins said.

CISD parent Marie Harrington complained that Inman's comments were distracting the district from discussing matters related to CISD students. She also compared Inman to her daughter, who must abide by the district’s anti-bullying rules.

“Mr. Inman is a board member. He’s supposed to enforce the bullying and harassment policy, but instead, he is the bully,” Harrington said.

Several speakers demanded an apology or for Inman to resign. CISD parent Ann Marie Kennedy said Inman’s “rant” showed a lack of professional boundaries.

However, several people spoke in defense of Inman’s actions and character, including his wife, Kelley, who said “there is no bigotry” in her husband.

Resident Tom Alger said he has known Inman and has seen him take care of homeless individuals, those displaced by hurricanes and drug addicts.

“If there’s anything in this world that Dale Inman is not, it is a bigot or a racist or a homophobe,” Alger said.

Resident Kevin Williams said the community is orchestrating a “witch hunt” against Inman for having personal beliefs about the WHS event.

“His crime is being a Christian and having a Facebook page,” Williams said.

The meeting also saw several students speak up. Kaylee Newell said the Inman family have taken her in and and provided for her when she had nothing; she said she believed Inman is “one of the smartest people [she's] ever met.”

“We’re not blood, but the Inman family is my family,” Newell said.

Conroe High School student Zoey Nofchissey said she is bisexual and that Inman’s “disgraceful” comments hurt her and her community.

“To call us vile and disgusting and [say] that we’re vicious is wrong. It’s very wrong,” Novitski said.

By Andy Li

Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now covers the Conroe Independent School District, Montgomery City Council and transportation.


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