FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2016
AUSTIN — State Senator Donna Campbell responded to the Obama Administration's letter recommending changes to public school bathroom policies for transgender students with her own letter to Central Texas area superintendents today. In her letter, Senator Campbell makes clear that the guidelines issued by the Obama Administration are non-binding and violate the local authority of independent school districts. She also asked superintendents to keep parents, students, and lawmakers apprised of any changes their school district considers regarding these policies.
"Public school bathrooms and locker rooms should be safe spaces, not social experiments that leave children vulnerable to members of the opposite sex without dignity or privacy," Senator Campbell stated. "There is no precedent for such a radical departure from established law, and I will fight to protect our children with every inch of my being."
The full text of Senator Campbell's letter is included below:
May 20, 2016
On May 13, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education sent public schools a seven-page letter recommending policy changes that in essence would ban same-sex bathrooms and locker rooms on public school campuses. I am writing to inform you that their recommendations are non-binding and violate your local authority as independent school districts.
Among their most alarming recommendations is the assertion that "A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so." (from page 3)
This interpretation of Title IX by the Obama Administration has no historical precedent, and Title IX has never been applied in such a radical manner. In fact, to apply Title IX in such a new and arbitrary manner turns the intent of Title IX on its head and damages the strength of civil rights laws designed to protect students based on their actual race and gender.
Additionally, the letter's guidelines violate Chapter 4.001 of the Texas Education Code, which states as one of ten objectives that "school campuses must maintain a safe and disciplined environment." Changing existing bathroom and locker room policies to force female students to share facilities and showers with male students certainly puts such a safe and disciplined environment at risk.
As an elected official who represents residents in your district, I wanted to make you aware of the outcry I am hearing from parents concerned about their child's privacy and personal safety at school. I am asking you to please keep parents, students, and lawmakers apprised of any changes your district considers regarding these policies.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Senator Donna Campbell, M.D.
Chair, Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations