ROUND ROCK — Amid a troubling series of events in their local school district, Central Texans are exposing corruption—and demanding action—from their school officials.

What’s Happening in Round Rock ISD?

In Round Rock Independent School District, situated in the northern suburbs of Austin, parents have started a petition admonishing the school board to end their potentially dangerous free-for-all private room policy.

The petition came after a recent Texas Scorecard report, when, based on a series of tips, we interviewed a handful of district students, parents, and staff experiencing the unsecured locker room rule at the schools—where boys are allowed in girls’ private rooms and vice versa.

Many of the interviewees also knew of school plans to place boys in girls’ hotel rooms during school trips.

Furthermore, when parents brought their concerns to district officials—including administration, legal staff, and the school board and superintendent—they were disregarded.

“I had my solution early on, and I’ve been directed on what we’re going to do. And what we’re going to do is allow every student that identifies as a female to go into the female restroom,” one of the district principals told several of those community members.

“Could we ever have a problem that you spoke about earlier [like the Loudoun County sexual assault]? Obviously, anything’s possible. I hate that it would,” the principal continued. “I never thought our kids would follow Instagram or TikTok the way they do. Could that happen? Sure. I don’t want it to. I hope it never does. I hope we’ve educated our kids enough at home to know how to behave appropriately and make right decisions, but kids are kids.”

“But here’s the question: Is hope enough?” replied one student, anonymously known as Lauren.

‘Protect Our Girls’

Now, after district administration blew them off, citizens are organizing a petition.

“Currently, Round Rock ISD has no written policy regarding who can use which multi-stall bathroom, leaving individual campus administrators to come up with unwritten, oftentimes permissive rules. This has resulted in numerous female students being subjected to biological males entering girls’-only spaces while they are in stages of undress,” wrote petition author Michelle Evans, of local organization Moms for Liberty. The petition is called “Tell Round Rock ISD to Protect Female Students,” and in the 24 hours it’s been active, it has more than 250 signatures.

“This permissiveness also applies to hotel room assignments on school-sponsored trips, meaning boys and girls can be and have been put into hotel rooms together!” she added.

“Parents, students and community members need to come together to tell the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent that a clear policy is needed to protect our schools from becoming the next Loudoun County,” Evans wrote, referring to the recent horrific incident at a Virginia public school in which a high school boy entered the women’s restroom and sexually assaulted a ninth-grade girl.

“Girls shouldn’t be forced to undress with boys in the room and vice versa,” wrote one petition signer, Jennifer White.

“I’m signing because our girls [are] not social science experiments,” added Jay Martin.

“Why is it now that parents have to start petitions to protect basic rights of our girls that should have been done by the school district?” wrote citizen Liang-Kai Wang.

The Round Rock ISD school board and superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez have been caught in other recent troubling stories involving abuse of power, domestic assault allegations, offering pornographic material to children, blocking parents from public meetings, and even arresting concerned citizens.

Students Need District Officials to Act

Regarding the private room issue, the girls interviewed by Texas Scorecard also emphasized that the problem was not male students struggling with their biological identity, but the district’s apparent lack of any rules or protections for students. School officials were seemingly allowing anyone—including those who could mean harm—to walk into any intimate, gender-specific room.

“There needs to be something written. There has to be something that is an actual rule or policy somewhere, because when you just throw it up in the air and say, ‘Well, we don’t really have anything,’ and you’re flying by the seat of your pants, people can get away with whatever they want,” said one of the students, anonymously known as Lauren.

“I think that they should make it that the women’s locker room is solely for people that are biologically women,” said another student, anonymously known as Heather. “And that’s not to alienate anyone. It’s just that one out of every three girls gets sexually assaulted in their life before they become adults, and this is super true, especially in public schools.”

“There’s no bathroom monitor. It’s not like the rule itself is just going to make sure all the crime goes away, but the rule is really a statement of truth and a statement of our morals,” said a student anonymously known as Jonathan.”If we write into the rulebook that biological males are allowed to pick whatever bathroom, it opens up the door for a lot of bad actors to prey on our kids.”

“I’m super concerned about it … because it’s getting really bad,” one district staff member, anonymously known as Olivia, told Texas Scorecard.

“I just don’t think that parents realize there is not a rule; there are no protections in place,” she added. “Fathers of daughters, are you okay with this?”

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.