Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced Tuesday he will send out a letter to all Texas school districts telling them not to implement President Obama’s transgender bathroom policies.
In an Austin-held press conference, Patrick also addressed the next steps the state will take regarding the state’s public school transgender bathroom and locker room policies. This included the Fort Worth Independent School District transgender student guidelines recently instituted “unilaterally” by Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner.
Patrick said he will send out a letter to all Texas school districts advising them not to implement the federal transgender bathroom directive. He also stated he asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for a decision if it was legal for the Fort Worth ISD Superintendent to suddenly and single-handedly adopt transgender guidelines that allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity and not the gender listed on their birth certificates.
“You have to ask the question, ‘Why did this policy come out of nowhere when there seemed to be nothing to create it?’ I said at the time because it was directly linked to the Obama policies in Washington.” Patrick noted that while some in the media scoffed at his comments, 36 hours later the President announced a national transgender bathroom directive to U.S. public schools. Texas sued the federal government over this policy.
Ten other states — Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Arizona, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia — since joined the lawsuit. It argues the Obama administration violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution in redefining “sex” to include gender identity as well as threats to sue and withhold funding from states and public schools that refuse to adopt the policy.
Previously, Breitbart Texas reported the Lt. Governor said Texas will not be “blackmailed” by the President’s new transgender public school policy that essentially tells Americans “he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy.” Currently, the Lone Star State receives approximately $10 billion over a two year budget in education funding that Patrick says the majority of dollars goes to finance free breakfast and free lunch through public school food programs to assist the “poorest of the poor.”
Patrick also highlighted on Tuesday that, in Texas, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the state’s governing body for competitive public school athletics, music, and academic events, only recognizes gender based on birth certificates and not on gender identity. Last year, the UIL asked public school district superintendents across the state to weigh in on the topic. Earlier in 2016, they resoundingly approved an amendment that requires district officials use a student-athlete’s birth certificate to determine gender identification.
Tuesday begins a series of what Patrick called “sham hearings” put on by the Fort Worth ISD school board in which they will hold community forums through next week to allow parents and students to testify over the district’s new transgender guidelines. However, Patrick called them a “sham” because the district already made its decision and because they are not conducting these hearings in a way that will “have a true voice heard from the community.”
“The superintendent’s already issued this illegal act. He says he won’t rescind it. He says he won’t step down,” he told reporters.
Patrick questioned why the parents did not get the opportunity to testify on the policy before the superintendent adopted the transgender guidelines. He said, “When I was at the Ft Worth Independent School District three weeks ago tonight, I saw hundreds of people lined around the building there to testify against this policy and they were never allowed to speak.”
Breitbart Texas reported the Lt. Governor called out Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner for “unilaterally” implementing the policy without any community input or board approval.” Paredes maintains he just adopted a 2011 school board policy.
Following the Lt. Governor’s press conference, Stand For Fort Worth, a watchdog group that opposes Fort Worth ISD’s new transgender bathroom and and locker room policies, released a statement:
“It is now inevitable that this transgender policy will be struck down, whether it be through legal remedies or by the action of the Fort Worth ISD. We certainly hope for the latter as we do not wish to see any more valuable district resources wasted here. Superintendent Scribner should listen to the thousands of constituents calling for immediate repeal. We are pleased that Lt. Gov Patrick and AG Paxton continue to show strong support for our position. If our local officials would lend a similar ear to the parents and taxpayers, our city would not be facing this crisis.“
Parents of transgender students voiced their thoughts about the Ft. Worth ISD bathroom and locker room guidelines during an Equality Texas press conference that followed Patrick’s comments. They disagreed with the Lt. Governor and Attorney General’s positions. One parent invited both officials to dinner at her home to meet a transgender child. Another felt the state was picking on transgender kids.