Despite the district’s controversial transgender guidelines not present on Tuesday’s meeting agenda, dozens of concerned parents and citizens testified against the new rules. While pro-transgender groups label opponents as “bigots,” “trans-phobes,” or worse, many who testified took issue with the district’s lack of parental input and whether or not the policies will “protect” or endanger kids.
Only a few speakers spoke in favor of the new policy, while the overwhelming majority expressed numerous concerns.
A former teacher, and parent of four children in FWISD schools, questioned whether the new guidelines accomplish their alleged objective of helping at-risk minors, or make things even worse for all students [Video].
(Video transcript below)
“Fort Worth ISD has put a bathroom policy in place with no data to support it…where is the data that proves it reduces suicide rates and decreases bullying…or that it won’t cause more gender confusion, open the door to sexual predators, and does not lead to sexual promiscuity? How can a policy so delicate in subject matter be put into place without long-term case studies to back it up? My fear is not a girl in a boy’s bathroom. My fear is that we put a band-aid on a much bigger problem…these [transgender] children are at risk for suicide. Suicide! Help me understand how changing a bathroom will remove their confusion or pain? These children deserve professional counseling, parental input, individual educational planning with yearly reviews…You’ve stolen over two weeks of our valuable time, and exploited our district’s children for a political agenda in the name of protecting kids. We are Fort Worth ISD—WE are FWISD—and we will not be bullied.”
As a mother of an autistic child, current state law requires her thirteen-year old to attend an “age-appropriate campus,” despite his social and academic competency being closer to that of an eight-year old.
According to her testimony, there is evidence to support the current policy of “age promotion,” while taking steps to accommodate both her child’s needs and that of his peers. She criticized the district for not taking the same objective approach to address the mental and social needs of both transgender and gender-confused children.
Rather than focus on reading and mathematical proficiency, the Obama administration has unilaterally made transgender bathroom policy a federal priority, and has threatened to withhold federal funding (including programs that provide lunches to low-income children) if local school districts refuse to comply with his edict.
Although the legal grounds Obama claims to stand on are dubious—and are being challenged by the state—the decision to comply with federal mandates is ultimately up to local school boards.
As with many alleged cases of “federal overreach,” the simple truth is locally elected officials, such as Fort Worth ISD board trustees, have invited the federal government in through the front door. Sadly, too many are happy to do so in exchange for federal money.