The Texas Association of School Boards recently updated their policy guidance that allows biological males to use girls' bathrooms, in contradiction of state law (HB 25) that became effective one year ago. TASB's "Legal Issues Related to Transgender Students" boldly declares "there is no law that prohibits a [school] district from granting the transgender student's request to use [communal sex-specific] facilities" – such as restrooms or locker rooms.
The guidance also addresses whether transgender students should be permitted to wear attire that doesn't match their biological sex; whether a district should change school records to reflect a student's "preferred" name and gender; and what a district should do if a transgender student wants to participate in a sport based on "gender identity" instead of biological sex.
Mary Elizabeth Castle is director of government relations for Texas Values. While Castle is clearly concerned about the pro-trans policies handed down by TASB, she emphasizes that the Association is a lobbying group that has no authority for establishing public school policy.
"But unfortunately, a lot of school boards feel compelled to vote on these school policies even though they're not required by law and don't align with state law," she tells AFN. "[The school boards] do not have to – and should not – pass any policies that [TASB] passes down."
Castle is also concerned that TASB has advised schools to "consult their attorneys" instead of following HB 25 law.
Texas Values sent a letter to all 1,200 school districts in 2020 reminding them that TASB is not a government body. Regardless, she says, some have adopted the guidelines.
"But there is hope," she offers, "because we have other school districts [that] have really strong board members – like Keller ISD, where [they] actually voted a policy to protect girls and to protect women's sports, which would align with state law."
Castle reports a number of legislators in the Texas House pushed back against the TASB policy last month with a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, urging his office to be on the alert for any changes in law that undermine the values of Texas voters or leave parental rights and students' safety and privacy unprotected.