Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced yesterday that he is requesting an opinion from his anti-transgender ally Attorney General Ken Paxton regarding Fort Worth ISD's non-discriminatory bathroom policy, and also gave a strong hint that if the district doesn't remove its policy, the Legislature would do that for it.
Ever since the Fort Worth school district implemented a set of guidelines urging schools to allow people to use the restroom of the gender that they associate with, Patrick has been swirling in a bowl of discontent. First, he called for the superintendent to resign, but the superintendent was unmoved. Now, Patrick is threatening to push an anti-transgender bathroom bill through the entrails of the state Legislature and is enlisting the help of his pal Paxton, who has already filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government's mandate that all public schools include transgender-friendly bathrooms.
"When we have a rogue, runaway superintendent and a rogue, runaway school board, then the Legislature this coming-up session is going to have to look at this issue because the law is clear," Patrick said, according to the Texas Tribune. "So what do parents do when the superintendent and the school board ignores them? When the superintendent and school board breaks the law, if that's the case? The parents are going to look to us."
According to the request for opinion, Patrick wants to know whether the superintendent has the authority to "unilaterally" impose these non-discriminatory guidelines meant to protect transgender students. Paxton will likely find that the superintendent does not have such authority, but it should be noted that his opinions have no legal power.
Patrick claims his meddling in the affairs of a school district in Fort Worth is totally and completely different in principle from the federal government's directive, which Patrick has criticized as being too controlling and has characterized as an overstep of federal authority. Even though Fort Worth has scheduled a series of public hearings regarding the district policy, that's apparently not enough for Patrick, who called them "after the fact sham hearings," according to a press release from his office.
So, let's get this straight: Patrick doesn't want the federal government to stick its nose in local issues, but he also doesn't find legitimate the attempts of this local government to find out for itself what it wants to do.
You can read Patrick's request for an opinion here:
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