Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has fired off a letter to the president of Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) saying he has a “strong concern” that the school district’s “Transgender Student Guidelines” violates parents rights to information. He also said the policies are motivated by a misguided view of federal law.
The policy mandates that transgender students be allowed to use a restroom of their choosing.
The Texas AG notes that the new transgender policy provides that “school personnel may only share this information [regarding the student’s actual or perceived gender identity and expression] on a need-to-know basis or as the student directs. This includes sharing information with the student’s parent or guardian.”
The letter to President Jacinto A. Ramos, Jr. also notes that the “sweeping policy was not adopted by the school board.”
Attorney General Paxton writes, “I have strong concern that this policy violates provisions in the Texas Education Code that give parents an unequivocal right to information regarding their children and is motivated by a misguided view of Title IX.”
The Lone Star State’s top lawyer wrote in his letter that reads like a legal memorandum, “The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that the fundamental rights of parents include the right to direct the education of their children.” He says that the Texas Education Code “makes clear that ‘a board of trustees, administrator, educator, or other person may not limit parental rights.” These rights give a parent access to all written records of a school district, and all information about the activities of a child. It also allows a parent to “remove the parent’s child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent’s religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent’s child a written statement authorizing the removal of the children from the class or other school activity.” These principles are also found in federal law, he writes.
Moreover, federal agencies lack the authority to rewrite Title IX to require the type of policy that the school district has written, AG Paxton warns. While the transgender policy cites Title IX as governing law, and indicates that the federal Office of Civil Rights has offered written guidance that “Title IX prohibits sex discrimination based not only on sex and sexual orientation but also on gender identity,” “such a view misconstrues the constitutionality confirmed role of the federal executive branch.”
“In short,” he opines, “only Congress—not an agency—has the constitutional authority to impose restrictions on States that receive federal funds.” The district’s transgender policy also does not cite to Congress’s enactment in Title IX for support that federal law addresses gender identity. Paxton writes, “The term ‘gender identity’ is nowhere in Title IX. And the policy admits that it is a federal agency that is attempting to read that phrase into the statute, which it lacks the constitutional authority to do.”
The Attorney General concludes, “We sincerely hope you will access these deficiencies in the transgender policy and more as the board deliberates its next steps.”
On Monday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for the resignation of Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner, the Fort Worth ISD superintendent who unilaterally enacted transgender bathroom and locker room policies without any input or say from school district parents, community members, and taxpayers. Breitbart Texas’ Merrill Hope reported that in a formal statement issued late Monday, May 9, Patrick characterized Scribner as unfit to lead based on “irresponsible” actions driven by “personal political agenda.”
Patrick wrote: “After less than a year as superintendent, Dr. Scribner has lost his focus and thereby his ability to lead the Fort Worth ISD. He has placed his own personal political agenda ahead of the more than 86,000 students attending 146 schools in the district by unilaterally adopting ‘Transgender Student Guidelines.’”