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Parents to Gov. Abbott: Call Special Session on Privacy in Bathrooms

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas – The 85th Texas Legislature regular session ended last week and the problem of privacy in school restrooms, showers, and locker rooms was not resolved as House leadership killed legislation that passed the Senate as well as another measure that had a majority of support of House members.

Numerous groups, leaders, and now parents of Texas public school students are requesting that Gov. Greg Abbott call a special session on this issue. Gov. Abbott is expected to announce his decision today at 2:30 p.m. Gov. Abbott has made several public statements supportive of legislation to protect privacy but no legislation made it to his desk.

Parents of Dripping Springs ISD have been pushing for a legislative remedy. They were surprised earlier this year when they learned the school district was allowing boys to enter and use the girls’ bathroom without vetting the new policy publicly.

Cassandra Adams, public school parent from Dripping Springs, Texas said: “I have children in public school in Dripping Springs ISD and because of the district’s new policy, right now privacy is not protected in the public school bathroom. I urge Gov. Abbott to call a special session and direct the legislature to pass a law to protect privacy so boys are not allowed to enter the girls’ locker room, shower or bathroom.”

“As parents of young children in a compromised district, we ask, what could be more important than the protecting our young, innocent, and impressionable?” said Nikki Kelton, also a Dripping Springs ISD parent. “The time is here, the time is now to include SB 6 in a special session in order to make a substantial difference vital to the safety and protection of our children.”

“It’s disappointing that this has taken so long, and I hope that our elected officials do the right thing on this very important issue this time and protect the privacy, dignity, and safety of our children,” said Rob, whose daughter, 10-year-old Shiloh, has spoken out publicly and testified at the Texas Senate about her discomfort at the thought of boys in the girls bathroom at her elementary school.

SUPPORTERS: See a list of the numerous Texas groups and leaders who are requesting that Gov. Abbott call a special session.

“That the Texas House leadership stalled on the Texas Privacy Act is an affront to the overwhelming majority of Texans who support privacy in our intimate spaces, especially in our public school restrooms and locker rooms,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Gov. Abbott has said ‘we will work to get a bill to my desk’ regarding the privacy bill during the regular session, and that he would sign it. And it won approval by the Texas Senate. By adding privacy to a special session call, the Governor can put the spotlight on this very important issue and give it the public hearing it deserves on the floor of the Texas House.”

Although privacy legislation was passed with bipartisan support by the Texas Senate (SB 6) and sent to the Texas House in March, House leaders like Rep. Byron Cook and Speaker Joe Straus publicly and privately opposed common sense solutions (including HB 2899 which had nearly 80 co-authors in the House) and the House never took a vote on these bills. Instead the House tried to tack on last-minute language that even the media agreed would not keep boys out of girls’ bathrooms in public schools.

The issue of bathroom privacy was a priority long before session started, and should not have come as a shock to anyone that a special session is needed now that a bill was never passed on this issue, Saenz continued.

“Students and parents in Dripping Springs, Fort Worth and now Coppell should not have to wait to know whether there girls will be forced in showers and locker rooms with boys,” Saenz continued. “There are 5 million children who will go back to public school later this year and their privacy concerns matter. This problem needs a solution that without a doubt must be addressed with a special session. We fully expect the Governor to include the Privacy Act on a call for the special session, and we know there are parents and children across the state that are counting on Gov. Abbott’s leadership to provide a solution to this growing problem.”

IMPORTANT RESOURCES:

700+ pastors, multitude of churches and organizations that want the Texas Legislature to protect privacy:http://tinyurl.com/700pastors and http://tinyurl.com/sb6businesses

Texas still No. 1 for business after pushing privacy legislation for six months:http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/05/12/texas-named-best-state-business-13th-consecutive-year

Watch video footage of our SB 6 press conference, with parent testimonials:https://www.facebook.com/texasvalues/videos/1336738799696588

The most recent violation of privacy in a Texas public bathroom (Coppell ISD):https://txvalues.org/2017/04/28/coppell-isd-home-district-of-house-privacy-bill-author-allows-boys-in-girls-bathrooms

List of privacy violation incidents from across Texas: http://tinyurl.com/SB6Texasincidents (PDF)

Six Essential Facts About Texas Privacy Act: http://tinyurl.com/sb6Facts

About Texas Values

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

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