The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas has lodged complaints with the U.S. Department of Education against some North Texas public school districts, accusing them of “unlawful sex discrimination against transgender, non-binary, gender diverse, and intersex students in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.”
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Frisco ISD’s board of trustees unanimously voted last Monday to require students to use multi-occupancy bathrooms corresponding to their assigned gender at birth.
However, individual accommodations would continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The district also added more titles to its list of library materials deemed inappropriate for students.
In its complaint against the district, the ACLU of Texas claimed the new bathroom rules, even with its exceptions and accommodations, “violate Title IX [by excluding] transgender students from sex-segregated facilities that align with their gender identities.”
“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has stated that public school districts cannot discriminate against transgender students by denying them access to multi-user restrooms that align with their gender identities, and OCR has already opened investigations into school districts in Texas that violate Title IX in this way,” read the complaint.
The same night that Frisco ISD’s school board met and adopted the new policy, Keller ISD’s board of trustees also convened and updated the criteria by which it judges what literary materials students can access at school.
The school board adopted content guidelines in late August that regulate students’ exposure at various grade levels to potentially controversial topics through library books and instructional resources.
Last Monday’s amendment to the guidelines added “gender fluidity” to the list of topics deemed inappropriate for all grade levels, alongside “sexually explicit content” and “illustrations or descriptions of nude intimate body parts.”
In its complaint against Keller ISD, the ACLU of Texas accused the district of trying to “suppress, in Keller ISD libraries, all access to information that it is possible for a person to be transgender or non-binary. In other words, the policy attempts to erase the existence of transgender and non-binary individuals. In its broad and vague wording, it threatens to similarly erase the existence of intersex individuals as well.”
Still, much of the movement on such issues in North Texas school districts seems animated by district parents and activists who have become increasingly involved in school board politics and policy in recent years.
Some board meetings end up somewhat contentious, with several dozens, sometimes more than 100 community speakers weighing in on potential board actions.
Speaking last Monday against Frisco ISD’s proposed bathroom policy, district parent Ellie Patel claimed a recent study revealed that 75% of transgender youth felt unsafe at school and that “discriminatory” bathroom policies further marginalize and stigmatize them.
“They need to be accepted and treated with respect and kindness,” she said. “No one should be a second-class citizen.”
At the Keller ISD board meeting last Monday, Daniel Moore, an American history professor, voiced his support for adding “gender fluidity” to the content guideline. He stated, “The less than 1% [of students] who do identify as this [gender fluid] deserve our empathy and respect.”
“But the 99% of kids who do not, should not be groomed into understanding that this is a normal condition when this is, in fact, less than 1% [of students],” Moore concluded.