A Frisco ISD board trustee has been accused of inappropriate behavior by a transgender student and mother in an incident that took place on September 28, 2022.
Speaking to The Dallas Express, Marvin Lowe, the trustee named in the complaint, has denied the allegations.
The Dallas Express obtained the complaint, which was sent in an email to Scott Warstler, the chief operations officer at Frisco ISD, in October. The Dallas Morning News reported that it was later forwarded to René Archambault, the school board president.
The complaint contends that Lowe made a then 16-year-old transgender student feel “dehumanized,” “violated,” “unsafe,” and “disturbed” during a conversation held after a speaking event organized in San Antonio by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and Texas Association of School Administration (TASA).
Both the names of the student and the student’s mother have been withheld due to the teen being a minor. The student is also from Brownsville, per The Dallas Morning News.
TASB and TASA had organized a conference panel called “Transgender Students in Texas Schools: What You Need to Know.” During that panel, the student spoke about issues related to using the restroom and locker room at school, giving insight into how to best support transgender students in these situations.
After the panel, the complaint alleges that Lowe approached and began speaking with the teen. It began “very neutral and respectful,” per the student.
Lowe, speaking to The Dallas Express, confirmed that part of the complaint.
“My heart just really went out to this person because they were obviously a girl … they were trying to be a boy, with the mannerisms and everything. And so afterward, I went up to her and said, ‘You know, no matter what we believe about this issue, I can tell you this: that people really love you want the best for you.’ I said that to her and she was like ‘Thank you,’” Lowe related to The Dallas Express.
“I think she didn’t know where I was coming from or my position on transgenderism, but my heart just went out to the child who was in this position, whether of her own volition or parents or whatever, I just think that it’s generally unhealthy for the child,” Lowe added.
Lowe told The Dallas Express that the student’s mother then walked up to him, thinking that he was showing support for her child and wanting to talk to him about transgenderism.
According to the student’s complaint, it was at this point in the conversation that Lowe is alleged to have brought up the subject of the locker room environment and his experiences with nudity in the locker room.
The complaint said that Lowe started talking about genitalia.
“Men like to walk around naked with their junk hanging around,” the complaint cited Lowe as saying.
Lowe has denied this.
“I don’t recall saying that at all,” Lowe told The Dallas Express. “I especially did not say that to the transgendered person.”
Lowe added that he did not engage the student in a conversation. Instead, he said, his words were intended as a farewell out of love and concern for the child, nothing more.
He suggested that the student’s mother entered into a discussion with him about transgenderism and when they disagreed, that is when the student began to express feelings of discomfort.
Lowe said that the way the encounter was described by The Dallas Morning News “is just not true.”
The Dallas Morning News reported on the student’s complaint, noting in particular allegations that Lowe spoke of sexual arousal.
The complaint portion cited in the reporting claimed, “He then reiterated this statement by mentioning his children and how they participate in such practice [having their ‘junk hanging around’] … he then said that having a person with differing external genitalia walking around naked wouldn’t be okay because ‘that’s the type of thing that turns people on.’”
A community meeting was held to discuss the matter on Monday.
The Dallas Morning News reported that a former FISD principal, Amy Baker, said, “The behavior of Mr. Lowe during that interaction represents a flagrant abuse of power, an intentional violation of personal boundaries, and deplorable conduct unbecoming of any Frisco ISD representative that warrants a punitive and consequential response from our community.”
But Lowe told The Dallas Express that he believes the reason the allegations were levied against him is that he is being targeted for his beliefs about transgenderism.
“It’s absolutely because of my beliefs,” said Lowe.
“They don’t like people who believe like me, they don’t want anybody like me on the board.”
Last year, Lowe was part of the Frisco ISD school board’s unanimous decision to require students to use bathrooms corresponding to their assigned sex at birth.
The new policy was brought forth by recently elected FISD trustees Lowe and Stephanie Elad, as The Dallas Express reported.
The Dallas Express contacted Frisco ISD for comment and received the following statement:
“The District is aware of the allegation that Mr. Marvin Lowe verbally harassed a minor at the Texas Association of School Boards and Texas Association of School Administrators Conference on September 28, 2022. Because District administration does not have the authority to take any action in regard to Trustee conduct, the allegations were forwarded to the District’s Board of Trustees.”
In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, board president Archambault explained that the Frisco school board will review the allegations against Lowe and continue to monitor the situation.
However, she also noted that “State law and constitutional protections for individual trustees also limit the board’s ability to respond to trustee conduct,” the DMN wrote.
“Again, I believe it is imperative the board as a whole work collaboratively together for the best interests of our students,” she concluded.