By: MARY ROOKE, COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS WRITER | January 16, 2023
Four Republican Texas state representatives asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday to review new transgender student policies for public schools. State Representatives Bryan Slaton, Brian Harrison, Tony Tinderholt, and Mark Dorazio signed a letter calling on Paxton to examine the Texas Association of School Boards’ (TASB) 2023 “radically pro-transgender” guidance, according to a copy of the letter tweeted by Slaton.
The representatives accuse TASB of disseminating legal advice that seems to discourage schools from reporting child abuse, denies parental rights, and claims female students don’t have legal protection to a private restroom or locker room, the letter stated.
“This radically pro-transgender legal advisory appears to encourage school districts to refrain from reporting child abuse and obscure information regarding children exhibiting gender dysphoria from their parents,” the four congressmen stated. “This document also makes a bold declaration that says young girls would have no law protecting them from having a school district permit a biological male to enter their restroom or locker room.
The TASB legal advice is “highly concerning” as it “may be effectively creating state policy,” they said.
The representatives want Paxton to inspect the new school board procedures and offer “further guidance” on issues regarding transgender students.
The new TASB guide covers transgender issues on several national discussions, including policies on parental consent and inclusion in sports, restrooms, and locker rooms. (RELATED: Michigan Middle School Field Trip Ended With Students Pole Dancing)
The school board association said that having a transgender child use separate gender-neutral facilities could make some students “feel that such an arrangement negatively singles them out and isolates them from their peers,” according to the document.
“Consequently, the transgender student may request to use communal sex-specific facilities that match the student’s gender identity. There is no law that prohibits a district from granting the transgender student’s request to use these facilities,” TASB advised. “If other students or their parents object to the use of a sex-specific facility by a transgender student, a school district may be able to amicably address the competing interests by making individual-user facilities and private areas available for all students.”
The decision on whether students should play on sex-specific sports teams is in murky waters, according to the TASB letter. Despite Texas law requiring students to play on teams separated by their biological birth, TASB advises school districts to “assess each request individually and determine the best course of action based on a thorough evaluation of all of the issues and potential risks, and in consultation with the district’s attorney.”
TASB also counseled schools on the legality behind preventing unsupportive parents from knowing about their child’s gender dysphoria and choosing a different name or pronoun.
“Texas educators typically work with parents to decide on appropriate accommodations for transgender students. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that transgender students are at particular risk of harm, including self-harm, when a parent disagrees with the student’s gender identity,” the document stated.
“As such, a student may request that a district employee not tell his or her parent about the student’s gender identity. School officials should proceed with caution in this case, in accordance with district policy regarding student counseling, crisis intervention, and child abuse,” TASB added.