TX Parents Defeat School’s Transgender Guidelines

News: Education
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 27, 2016   

Parents win victory against bathroom policy

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FORT WORTH (ChurchMilitant.com) - Texas parents are successfully rejecting transgender guidelines foisted on schools in Fort Worth.

Administrators at Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) last week replaced an eight-page transgender guideline, crafted secretly in April by their superintendent, Kent Scribner. They did so after outraged parents found out about the rules and rose up against them.

In response, parents formed an online petition saying the guidelines:

  • instruct personnel not to trust parents with their children's gender identity;

  • allow adults and minors to use opposite-sex bathrooms, causing potential harm; and

  • redirect resources toward implementing guidelines away from educating kids.

The "concerned citizens" who drafted the petition also noted that if students were upset about showering or changing with a member of the opposite sex, then they themselves would be provided with a separate facility.

Under the section "Restrooms and Related Facilities" ... if other students feel uncomfortable sharing a restroom with a transgender student, the school must allow the student(s) access to a single stall restroom. … Thus, if a teenage boy who says he's a girl goes into the girls' bathroom and the girls feel uncomfortable, all of the girls have to line up at the single stall restroom — not the boy.

The Fort Worth ISD, comprised of 143 schools instructing 87,000 students, received comments from 235 individuals, including 119 separate emails. In addition, the board met with the public in four separate meetings, hosted six town hall forums, and conducted several special meetings with community members.

The School District has now discarded the former eight-page guidelines and replaced them with a new two-page guideline that states, "The goal will be the creation of a safe and supportive environment for students impacted by the accommodation with due recognition of the privacy rights of all students."

The new guidelines further state that any request by a transgender student for special bathroom accommodations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, the new guidelines emphasize the role of parents in such decisions. "Parents are partners with educators, administrators, and … shall be encouraged to actively participate in creating and implementing education programs for their children. ... [A]n administrator, an educator or other person may not limit parental rights."

Superintendent Scribnerin a press release affirmed the revised policy.

Our focus from the beginning has been the safety of all children and that, overwhelmingly, was the concern we heard from our parents and others. … Students, teachers, parents and pastors have provided us with their thoughtful insights and their wisdom helping us realize that this issue was really about the safety of ALL students.

 

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