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Texas AG Says Fort Worth School District's Transgender Guidelines Violate State Law

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick/Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner
Shelby Knowles
Texas Tribune
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick/Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the Fort Worth school district’s guidelines for transgender students violate state law.

Paxton issued the non-binding opinion on Tuesday. In it, he wrote that policies announced last month by the district relegated "parents to a subordinate status" since the policies were created without proper parental input or consent.

The wide-ranging guidelines direct school staff to respect students’ gender identity and make adjustments for their safety – like offering the use of a single-stall restroom or a bathroom where other students are not present.

Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner didn't go through the school board when announcing the guidelines but has said he’s confident they’re legal.

A Republican, Paxton has previously said he thought the guidelines violated state education code.

Tuesday’s opinion was sought by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has unsuccessfully demanded the resignation of Scribner.

District officials said they had no comment Tuesday afternoon.

Supporters and opponents of the guidelines spoke out at a school trustee meeting Tuesday night.

Fort Worth parent Chris Sullivan criticized the school board for a lack of transparency.

“Fort Worth ISD’s core beliefs and strategic goals -- which are behind y’all, hopefully y’all looked at them last time you were here like I suggested – indicate we should have active participation in,” Sullivan says. “This has not happened with the adoption of the transgender guidelines. Parents and community were shunned from this.”

Nathan, a transgender man and a graduate of Trimble Tech, said the policy could save lives.

“For some trans individuals, school is their safe place, believe it or not,” Nathan says. “These guidelines could be life-saving. It would’ve made a world of difference if they were in place when I was in school.”

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Associated Press