Attorney General Opinion: Fort Worth ISD Transgender Policy Violates Law

Jun 28, 2016

ken-paxton (620-240)Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an Attorney General Opinion concluding that Fort Worth ISD’s “Transgender Student Guidelines” are in violation of state law. Fort Worth ISD will hold a school board meeting tonight starting at 5:30 p.m. The guidelines were unilaterally implemented by the FWISD Superintendent in May, sparking outrage in Fort Worth and across the state, including by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who requested the Attorney General’s Opinion.

The transgender guidelines allow boys to go into girls’ showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms and also allow boys to play on girls’ sports teams. Additionally, if a child claims to “identify” as the opposite sex, school personnel may not notify the child’s parents. Texas Values submitted a letter brief to the Attorney General on this issue arguing the policy violates Texas Education laws regarding parental rights. The rules were not voted on by the FWISD School Board, and Fort Worth Parents were not notified about the rules until after they were implemented.

The Attorney General Opinion states (full opinion here):

…Far from creating a partnership between parents, educators and administrators regarding their children’s education, the Guidelines relegate parents to a subordinate status, receiving information only on a “need-to-know basis.” Limiting parents’ access to information in this way impairs their ability to “actively participate” in the children’s education, contrary to state law.

…the Transgender Student Guidelines adopted by the Fort Worth Independent School District superintendent limit parental access to information about their child and operate to encourage students to withhold information from parents contrary to the provisions in chapter 26, they violate state law.

…chapter 11 [of the Education Code] requires that policy decisions, like those addressing parental involvement with students’ gender identity choices, be addressed by the board of trustees prior to the development of any related administrative regulations.

Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz released the following statement:

“The illegal Fort Worth ISD transgender policy should be repealed immediately. The Attorney General Opinion makes it clear that Fort Worth ISD’s transgender policy violates state law. From the beginning, Superintendent Kent Scribner has attempted to keep parents and the taxpayers of Fort Worth in the dark about this lawless policy that allows boys into girl’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. This policy, which was decided behind closed doors without a vote from the School Board, infringes parental rights when Texas law entitles parents to full information about their children at school. Until the Fort Worth Superintendent repeals these illegal rules, we will continue to work diligently to expose this radical agenda in Fort Worth, and we will support the parents who have every right to know and voice their concerns on these matters. We thank Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick for their leadership on this issue.”

Read the full AG opinion here.

About Texas Values

Texas Values is a non-profit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org

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