Lt. Governor Dan Patrick took time out of his busy and important job yesterday to come to Fort Worth to remind transgender students that their choice of gender means nothing to him. Patrick was greeted boos and hisses from several protesters. Speaking at Fort Worth school district headquarters on University Drive, Patrick told reporters at the closed press conference that he would start his speech as soon as the camera crews were ready. He used the extra time to adjust his tie.
“When you ask for someone’s resignation, you owe an explanation why,” Patrick said during his opening comments. “That’s one of the reasons I came here today. I believe this policy is ill-advised, wrongheaded, and it violates the Texas education code.”
The policy he referred to includes new guidelines issued by Fort Worth school district superintendent Kent Scribner three weeks ago. The district has included protective language for LGBT students for nearly five years. The new guidelines work within the school district’s standing policy and direct Fort Worth school district staff to allow students to choose restrooms consistent with the “gender identity that each student consistently and uniformly asserts.”
As Patrick spoke, protesters outside were left to guess at his comments. Many pressed signs against a partitioning glass wall that read “Discrimination Kills. Support trans students.”
One sign, presumably directed at Patrick, simply read “Boo!” Patrick wasn’t without a few outside supporters, though. A young man with a shirt that read “Hillary Clinton for Prison 2016” appeared uneasy surrounded by openly gay and transgender activists.
The new guidelines, Patrick continued, infringe on parental rights. Under the new guidelines, parents would no longer know if their children approached school district staff about being transgender.
“The job of the superintendent is not to be a social engineer.” he said. “The job of the superintendent is to prepare his students for a great education.”
Alternating with his frequent mentions of “social engineering” were statements reiterating his belief that “every student be protected and not bullied or harassed.”
Patrick estimated the number of transgender students in Fort Worth to be very small, around 1 percent of the student body. In that case, he said, Fort Worth school district officials are asking 78,000 students to change their behavior for a few hundred.
“When parents leave their children [at] school, they expect the students’ rights and privacy to be protected as well,” he said in closing. “In this case, the superintendent is putting the privacy and comfort of 78,000 people in the back seat for a few. Once again, the superintendent needs to rescind this guideline. I believe he needs to step down because he has acted in a way that superintendents [should not]. He’s not focused on the real issue, which is educating students. This has nothing to do with any of that. If he wants to try social engineering, he’s in the wrong job. I do not believe the vast majority of parents support this. This will do nothing but bring chaos and confusion in the school day.”
Fort Worth school district board member Ashley Paz told the Weekly that she was surprised by the recent media attention and visit by Patrick. The guidelines, she said, are aligned with recent decisions by two federal agencies: the Office for Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice.
Timing may play a role in the right-wing backlash. Several controversial transgender “bathroom bills” recently passed by state legislatures have made headlines.
Last Monday, Patrick released a public statement that called on Scribner to resign.
“Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged,” Patrick said. “I call upon the parents within the Fort Worth [school district] to take immediate steps to repeal this stealthy scheme and remove Dr. Scribner from his post.”
The not-so-subtle fear mongering ploy plays off the idea that hormone-frenzied teenage boys might use the loophole to prey on unsuspecting young girls.
Outside of the press conference, a young, mustachioed man held a sign that read, “I was born a female. Do you want me in the ladies restroom?”
Lou, who asked that his last name be omitted, is 26 and lives in Dallas. He underwent hormone treatments four years ago. The notion that transgender people are a danger to anyone is a lie, he said.
“The reality is that trans people are more terrified of using the bathroom than anyone else,” he said.
“I hate that everyone focuses on the bathrooms, but it is the issue at hand,” he continued. “I’ve been using the men’s restroom for years, and now it’s a problem? It’s not a societal problem. This is being pushed by people who hate us. If they can use the restrooms, they will use it to take away people’s rights.”
I would bet that most of the people speaking up against the policy do not have kids in the Fort Worth ISD and have never voted in a school board election. God forbid that they actually get involved in education rather than showboating against teenagers with gender confusion.
Larry Masters: You say those who have no school-age kids in FWISD aren’t qualified to complain about the bathroom policy. Do you similarly disqualify those who support the policy? Hell, the poster boy (or whatever) in the article is from Dallas!
Sammy, that is not what I said. Anybody can say what they want about the policy. However, we can also question their motives and thought processes. Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton are in it for the cheap publicity. Some of the people complaining honestly think the policy is a sign of the apocalypse.
The policy was written to protect a very small group of very vulnerable students.
Personally, I don’t understand transgender issues. But I am fairly certain that transgender klds are no more likely to be sexual predators than gay kids or straight kids. This policy does not make me fear for the safety of my two children in FWISD.
Thanks Static for this extremely idiotic article. You should probably be in the running for some award like the Pulitzer for this piece of garbage. Apparently, you also missed the part where Dan Patrick pointed out that no parents were informed of this decision until after it was already made. Apparently, you missed the news story that broke within the last couple of weeks about a young man (in this area) who decided to take advantage of the new rule made to make the 1% feel better about themselves. He waltzed right over to the ladies dressing rooms in Target (since they were so eager to change their rules) and began to take pictures of a young lady changing. Yeah, nothing to worry about with these new super vague rules. Yep, The Fort Worth Superintendent wasn’t trying to jump on a trend. He probably actually thought about all the consequences before he decided to make this transition. Yeah, apparently this rule infuriates people because of transgenders, and not the creepers out there who are willing to take advantage of this new rule. Wow! You, apparently, have done some amazing research on this, and didn’t try to jump on the Trend bandwagon. Riveting work.
That type of harassment is still illegal. I don’t understand how people think trans people having access to USE the facilities suddenly means that non-trans people are legally allowed to go in and harass and assault people. Nope. That’s still not allowed.
Laws protecting trans people don’t mean that creeps are allowed to do anything without consequences.
Lee: you say the new rule doesn’t give non-trans people the legal right to go in AND harass people. But non-trans people WILL have the legal right to go in the opposite sex bathroom, won’t they.
I am thankful that the Weekly has finally – after a long, long absence, chosen to write again about the plight of FWISD schools. Face it. Sex or in this case, sexism is the ONLY thing that gets the attention of people struggling to make ends meet. We are so consumed by paychecks and bills we do not see what crooked politicians are doing – especially in FWISD. The truth of the matter is that things have gone from BAD to WORSE in FWISD. No one is writing about; no one is reporting it. This issue by its nature is divisive and diverts attention from the real issues in FWISD. A Board who does not and perhaps never has served the children or people of FWISD Why else would two previously indicted Board Members KEEP getting re-elected? Is any one aware that student assaults on TEACHERS in the classroom is at an all time high? How about teacher/student relationships? Never reported by local media when involving FWISD. Just consider that six years after the Arlington Heights scandal over changing attendance, grades and discipline, ANOTHER high school – Poly – is in the midst of the same thing along with multiple other campuses. WHERE is the reporting? Where is the former Superintendent who started it all? Melody Johnson has been elevated to the position of “resident scholar” at TCU. And you wake up one morning and wonder what’s happening in FWISD? the truth is, NOTHING. And nothing has changed. And nothing will change until YOU get involved. Not only does the current Superintendent need to resign or be thrown out – the ENTIRE BOARD needs to be replaced.
Fools are going to be fools, knuckle-heads will whine like knuckle-heads, half-wit Holy Rollers act like half-wit Holy-Rollers….there is not one thing new to see here. You’re spiting into the wind and frittering away your time if you expect reason and logic to impose on their third-grade stupidity. Baggers are Baggers, expect them to behave as fifth-grade fruit-loops. They bunch up like fire-ants and bring misery to anyone near them. Conscientious adult behavior is unknown to jerks like Josh and Sambo. There is nothing new nor credible from these Tea-Bagging flakes. Jesus hates Tea-Bagging, Repug knuckle-heads. I am certain of this and I agree with Him.
I imagine you’ve been sneaking into the ladies’ room for years Benito. You go, girl.
I got a bird-dog with more illuminating thoughts than you Sammy-Boy. Your mama have any brats worth a dime? What do you Baggers eat anyhow? The girls have been slipping into my room since high-school and I get no refuge…just my cross to bare. If you will open your black heart and brush your stinking teeth, you will have a shot at meeting ladies that aren’t crack-heads too! I urge you to pray about it. Good luck & best wishes.
Who do you pay to get moderated? Who is on first? What the hell?
Benito, you moron, you needn’t concern your fool self with moderation delay. No one is breathlessly waiting to read your stupid comments.
Cut back on the cheap crack and often these childish images become less bother. Grow up kid. The school teacher up there said something significant.
And here is the latest from Arlington Heights….. an instant replay of Judy Needham six years ago: http://ciafwisd.blogspot.com/2016/05/arlington-heights-high-school-cover-up.html
The logical next step, separate facilities to accomodate those whose religious convictions and mandates forbid mixing of the sexes in restroom settings and elsewhere.
Sure, we can laugh at and decide Christian children for their feelings, but will we do the same with Muslim-majority schools?
Beau Guest, liberals never think through the absurdity of their schemes. If a white person can self-identify as black, and a man can self-identify as a woman, why cannot a person self-identify as a dog? Okay, so if a FWISD student (or Target shopper) self-identifies as a dog, why should the dog-person be penalized for crapping on the floor?
My reply has been awaiting moderation for three days now, let me rephrase.
The end result if all this will be open access to formerly exclusive facilities, meaning males in the female facilities. Purpose defeated.