Parents to school district: You can run but you can't hide

Parents to school district: You can run but you can't hide

Parents to school district: You can run but you can't hide

The parents of a Texas high school student have waited for months for a response to their grievance – but their patience has finally worn thin over the district's actions apparently designed to stall an investigation.

Last year, the Round Rock ISD Board of Education used armed security to remove concerned parents from a meeting. The parents were later arrested for disorderly conduct. Now, creating yet another controversy, the school district has simply refused to address a parents' grievance over a school bathroom issue – leading the way to the parents of a Round Rock student filing a complaint with the Texas Education Agency.

The incident involved a male student being allowed to use a female locker room without notifying the parents of the female student who was subjected to the encounter. This description of the encounter appears in the June 6 complaint:

"Jane Doe [the unnamed student] was changing out of gym clothes in a sex-specific locker room, when she was traumatized by being walked in on while undressing by a biological male student. The school administration had authorized the biological male student, identifying as a female, to undress in the female locker room. Jane Doe and her parents were not notified by school administration of a policy change regarding allowing males in female locker rooms, nor were they notified that a biological male had been authorized to use the female locker rooms."

Castle, Mary Elizabeth (Texas Values) Castle

The parents' grievance process with the district began in mid-November 2021. Mary Elizabeth Castle of Texas Values says Round Rock all along has refused to assign a hearing for the parents' grievance. "So, we have decided to take it to the next level – and Texas Values is helping the parents appeal to the Texas Education Agency," she tells AFN.

Texas Values argues the parents are "rightfully outraged" at what the firm describes as "a record of mismanagement and dodging controversial issues." Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, says the district's complaint process needs to be investigated to ensure Round Rock ISD is accountable and in compliance with school law.

"The district can run but they can't hide," says Saenz, "and the parents are not letting this issue go."

Castle adds that the Texas attorney general's office also is investigating the school's attempt to charge the legal group more than $29,000 for its request for related Public Information Act documents. That request – and the district's bill – preceded the decision to file an appeal with the Texas Education Agency.