‘Protect Our Kids’: Parents Protest TX School’s Transgender Bathroom Policy

REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

Mary Lou Lang Contributor
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A Texas school board meeting became heated Tuesday night when audience members chanted “protect our kids” and “it’s a mockery of democracy” in response to a new transgender policy instituted by the district’s superintendent.

Forth Worth Independent School District Superintendent Kent Scribner’s new policy allows transgender students to choose the bathroom that corresponds with the gender with which they identify.

The meeting attracted an overflow crowd of those on both sides of the polarizing issue.

Those who took to the microphone at the meeting made impassioned pleas to the board, many taking issue with the lack of transparency and lack of public comment on the policy before being instituted. Others thanked the board and the superintendent for what they described as choosing the “right” policy.

“Gender is not determined by the genitals but by the brains,” one speaker said. “Transgender is not a condition, a choice, a sin or a character flaw,” she said, adding that the transgender policy is a “matter of life and death.”

Finn Jones, of Trans-Cendence International, praised the policy. As a transgender himself, who transitioned from female to male, spoke of the struggles she faced and said she contemplated suicide. Jones said without such a policy, transgender students are “bullied”.

Chris Sullivan opposed the policy and said parents were not consulted, the taxpayers were not consulted and said “put it before the citizens for a vote.”

Steve Radner, of Equality Texas, thanked the board for following the law and not risking federal funding.

Sharon Herrera, an LGBT activist, thanked Scribner and said, “we thank you, we stand with you.”

Another speaker, Paula Ellis, a transgender woman, said, “I knew I was a girl and I knew I didn’t belong in there,” referring to the boy’s bathroom. “These policies will save the lives of transgender students and I thank the board for doing the right thing.”

Several speakers accused the superintendent of passing his own agenda and taking away rights of parents. One speaker questioned why the policies were “instituted behind closed doors, without a vote by the board and without parents’ input.”

Bo French, another speaker, said the work was “conducted in secret” and is an attempt to “subvert the rights of parents.” French said he conducted a poll on Monday night of 300 people in the area and “82 percent are against this policy.”

“Protecting our children should be the first priority,” French said, adding “I demand an immediate and full repeal of this policy.”

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who called for the uperintendent to resign on Monday, urged parents to speak out against the “unilateral” action of the superintendent.

Speaking to local news reporters prior to the meeting, Patrick said, “If he wants to try social engineering, he’s in the wrong job.” He also said transgender student guidelines “will do nothing but bring chaos and confusion to the school day.” Patrick said “parents were shut out” and said, if the US “goes down the path of social engineering in our schools…you’re going to see the end of public education as we know it.”

A reporter tweeted out a photo of those waiting to get into the meeting and said the line stretched “for as far as the eye can see.”

The issue is gaining momentum across the country, and North Carolina has become the prominent headline. But the National Association of Secondary School Principles, which represents principals across the U.S., stated its intent to adopt a position statement on transgender students’ rights. They will allow for open public comment through June 10.