AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick thinks Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner “has lost focus and thereby his ability to lead” and is calling for Scribner to resign over his unilateral decision to institute a transgender student bathroom policy.
“Without any discussion with parents, board members, principals, and other community leaders, Dr. Scribner’s unilateral action underscores his lack of fitness to hold his position as superintendent,” Patrick wrote in a prepared statement cited by The Dallas Morning News.
“I call upon the parents within the Fort Worth ISD to take immediate steps to repeal this stealthy scheme and remove Dr. Scribner from his post.”
The issue centers on a transgender bathroom policy Scribner presented to the school board April 19 that allows transgender students to play on whatever sports team or use whatever restroom they want. The policy was presented as the superintendent’s directive at the meeting without discussion from school officials or the school board, and it was not included as an action item on the board’s agenda, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Beyond simply allowing transgender students access to facilities that correspond to their gender identity, the policy directs teachers and school staff to work as “a designated ally” to transgender students by showing “respect for the student’s desires and wishes to the extent practical so as to foster a productive educational process for all,” according to the news site.
The policy specifically states that school officials should keep at student’s at-school gender identity a secret from parents if the student says to.
Staff “must work closely with the student to assess the degree to which, if any,” others, including the child’s parents, are informed about a student’s gender identity. School employees must keep parents “on a need-to-know basis or as the student directs,” the school policy reads.
“Campus safety should be of paramount concern for anyone in (Scribner’s) position,” Patrick said in his statement. “Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged.”
Patrick’s call for Scribner’s resignation comes a little over a week after he posted a petition on his website calling out companies and politicians who support restroom policies based on gender identity, rather than birth gender, The Dallas Morning News reports.
The transgender “rights” issue is a hot topic in many states after North Carolina passed a bathroom bill requiring facilities segregated by birth gender, and Patrick told the Houston Chronicle he would support similar legislation in Texas. The federal government is now suing North Carolina over the move.
“I think the handwriting is on the bathroom wall: Stay out of the ladies’ room if you’re a man,” Patrick told reporters outside of his Capitol office in late April. “If it costs me an election, if it costs me a lot of grief, then so be it. If we can’t fight for something this basic, then we’ve lost our country.”
Patrick is expected to host a press conference today to reiterate his call for Scribner to resign, ABC 13 reports.
Patrick helped to lead a successful effort to remove transgender policies in Houston last year.
So far, school board members are defended the superintendent’s transgender policies.
“We have enormous confidence in Superintendent Kent P. Scribner, his team, and our Board,” Fort Worth ISD Board President Jacinto Ramos, Jr. told the Morning News on Monday. “We are focused on creating a strong, safe, and productive learning environment for all students.”