Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday called for the resignation of Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner over new guidelines dealing with transgender students.
“After less than a year as superintendent, Dr. Scribner has lost his focus and thereby his ability to lead the Fort Worth ISD,” Patrick said in a statement. “He has placed his own personal political agenda ahead of the more than 86,000 students attending 146 schools in the district by unilaterally adopting ‘Transgender Student Guidelines.'”
Patrick’s statement came in response to Scribner’s recent approval of a set of guidelines that instruct district employees to “acknowledge the gender identity that each student consistently and uniformly asserts.” Scribner announced he had signed the guidelines, which had been under development for roughly a year, at a meeting of Fort Worth ISD board on April 26.
The guidelines specify that schools must ensure students feel safe in their restrooms. If a student is uncomfortable using the bathroom with a transgender peer, the school must let the student use a single-stall restroom, a gender-neutral bathroom or a restroom where no one else is present.
“Without any discussion with parents, board members, principals, and other community leaders, Dr. Scribner’s unilateral action, underscores this lack of fitness to hold his position as superintendent,” said Patrick, who has expressed concern that letting transgender people in to public bathrooms creates the risk for violence against women.
“Campus safety should be of paramount concern for anyone in his position,” Patrick said of Scribner. “Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged.”
Patrick’s call for Scribner’s resignation is playing out against an increasingly pitched battle over transgender rights in Texas and across the country. Earlier Monday, North Carolina and the U.S. Department of Justice tangled in federal court over the state’s House Bill 2, which prohibits people from using public bathrooms that do not match up with their biological sex. In the Lone Star State, Patrick and other Republicans have vowed to pursue a similar measure in the next legislative session.
Patrick called on parents of Fort Worth ISD to “take immediate steps to repeal this stealthy scheme and remove Dr. Scribner from his post.” The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening.
Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond said the district is “respectfully declining to comment” on Patrick’s statement.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/05/09/patrick-wants-fort-worth-superintendent-resign/.
FWB addition: Late reports are indicating Patrick plans to attend the Tuesday May 10 Fort Worth ISD meeting.