State rep. opposes DSISD inclusive transgender bathroom decision

State Rep. Jason Isaac joins fight against Dripping Springs ISD transgender bathroom decision (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)
State Rep. Jason Isaac joins fight against Dripping Springs ISD transgender bathroom decision (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — Three months after the issue became the big focus in a small Central Texas city, a group of parents and a Christian conservative group are continuing to make it clear they do not like the decision made by the Dripping Springs Independent School District involving a transgender student.

According to parents, a third grader at Walnut Springs Elementary born as a boy, but who identifies as a girl, has been allowed to use the girls bathroom since the beginning of this school year.

State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, was at a press conference Monday afternoon with Texas Values to speak against DSISD’s decision that “allows boys to go into girls’ bathrooms.”

“I am concerned about women’s and children’s privacy and safety, and look forward to working with my colleagues to determine how the State of Texas can best protect them,” said Rep. Isaac.

He is also a parent of two boys in Dripping Springs ISD, and has been in talks with Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels.

“I know we are going to see a bill,” said Rep. Isaac. “Whether it’s from me or not is yet to be determined.”

The gathering took place ahead of a 6 p.m. school board meeting Monday where several parents on both sides of the issue voiced their opinions during the public comment portion.

“The school board and superintendent Bruce Gearing have refused to share information about why they have a new policy that allows boys into girls’ bathrooms,” said attorney Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values.

He is referring to a public information request he submitted in early November requesting all communication between district employees, including emails exchanged about their decision.

“Some of the information they’re requesting contains confidential student information,” said DSISD Superintendent Dr. Bruce Gearing. “We cannot just turn that over because of FERPA [Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act].”

The district has requested the opinion of the State Attorney General.

Texas Values takes issue with the district administration making the decision without notifying parents and without a vote by the school board.

The school board and superintendent have stood their ground on the decision made for the student, which is classified as a special accommodation.

The school board president told the crowd Monday night special accommodations made for students do not require board approval, and are handled on a case-by-case basis by administrators on the campus level.

The group Texas Values claims “droves of parents” have contacted the school board over the past two months following a school board meeting in September where many parents on both sides of the issue came to voice their opinions.

Dr. Gearing said communication has been dying down since that meeting, and they will continue to monitor the issue at the state capitol during the upcoming legislative session.

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