The Texas Association of School Boards released updated legal guidance this week pushing public schools to “affirm” gender-confused minors and allow them to use the bathroom of the opposite sex.
TASB is a statewide taxpayer-funded lobbying group for school officials that provides products and services to school districts. All 1,024 Texas school boards are TASB members and pay their dues with tax dollars.
Recently, the organization updated a 13-page document advising school districts on the “legal rights of transgender students.”
The guide features a glossary that defines terms such as “gender nonconforming,” “gender expression,” and “sex assigned at birth.” The document also defines “gender-affirming health care” and describes puberty-blocking drugs and sterilizing cross-sex hormones as accepted treatments for minors and adults. For example, the document explains that “gender-affirming care” is
A term that encompasses a range of social, psychological, behavioural or medical interventions designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity. Interventions may include counseling and medication, such as hormone treatments. Gender-affirming surgeries are typically reserved for adults.
TASB instructed schools to allow gender-confused students to use the restroom of the opposite sex, even if other students and their parents raise concerns. To defend their position, the group cited Title IX of the U.S. Department of Education’s sex discrimination codes and questioned the definitions of male and female.
“Title IX regulations have long permitted school districts to segregate male and female students in separate but comparable toilet, shower, and locker room facilities,” said TASB. “The legal issue presented by transgender students is how to define ‘male’ or ‘female’ when a student’s consistently expressed gender identity does not match the student’s assigned sex at birth.”
There is no law that prohibits a district from granting the transgender student’s request to use these facilities.
TASB also claimed that Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s directive ordering the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate cases of child gender mutilation as child abuse is now defunct after the Texas Supreme Court declared the order invalid. The group then suggested educators defer to “medical professionals” when reporting abuse.
“Targeting certain students or their parents on the basis of their children’s gender identity or expression could be viewed as a violation of these anti-discrimination laws,” said TASB. “Moreover, educators and other mandatory reporters who are not medical professionals should defer medical care to licensed professionals.”
The organization told public school employees to use a student’s “preferred name” at school and their legal name on official documents if their parents disapprove of their “gender identity.” However, the Texas Education Code guarantees parents “full information” about their children’s school records.
Over the next few months, while Texas’ 88th Legislative Session is underway, state lawmakers will make decisions on important education policies for the statewide education system. Concerned citizens can use Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory to contact their lawmakers.
NOTE: This article was changed to reflect that the TASB document in question was an update of a previous document.