A large crowd of Frisco ISD parents, students and board members met Monday to discuss Title IX and bathroom use in Frisco schools. Both parents and some board members showed their frustration with the district’s lack of rules in place.
Title IX states that there are no grounds on which discrimination can occur on the basis of sex. This includes transgender students because “sex” includes sexual orientation, gender preference and sexual characteristics. Not providing a viable option for all students would be in violation of Title IX. The rule currently in place states that students who wish to use an alternative restroom should set up a time to speak to the administration with their parents. Once the discussion has occurred, a personal plan is set up for the student to use a bathroom that allows them to feel comfortable.
“Their parents need to come to campus administration and then campus administration works with a parent and the student to identify a solution,” Chief Student Services Officer Erin Miller said in the meeting.
Some parents and board members do not believe finding an option for everyone is reasonable and want students to use the bathroom based on their sex at birth. This push to change the school’s policy comes after another North Texas school recently changed its rules to force students to use the restroom assigned to their sex at birth.
Board member Marvin Lowe questioned the current plan set in place and promoted a new set of rules in which students with female sex assigned at birth would use a girl’s restroom and students with male sex assigned at birth would use a boy’s restroom. He argued that if there is no law prohibiting the board from making that rule, it should be put into place. Lowe also repeatedly argued with other board members about the issue, but the response from the crowd showed support for Lowe’s opinions.
“Why are we changing all of our rules for less than 1%, when we know that more than 1% are going to be uncomfortable,” Lowe said.
Most board members agree that there should be a written policy in place in order for everyone to be up-to-date on rules within the schools. Many parents were upset that there is not a rule written in the student handbook and instead a verbal rule among the district. Parents also spoke during the public comment section of the meeting and expressed their concern about transgender students using the restroom for the gender they identify with.
Board of Trustees member Dynette Davis showed her frustration that discrimination is still something that must be discussed in schools despite many efforts of creating equal opportunity for all. She compares the discrimination of transgender students to segregation. Davis states that even though the district has come a long way, they are still discussing what group of people deserve what.
“I want to make sure that we ensure every student within Frisco ISD feel safe,” Davis said.
Miller explained that there have not been any reported issues in which a transgender person harmed another student in a bathroom, or pretended to be transgender to access the restroom of the opposite sex. She also clarified that only 50 cases in which individuals, not specific to transgender, asked to use a different bathroom. In most of these cases, students and parents were satisfied with the student using a single-person bathroom such as in the nurse’s room.
So far there have been 361 documented incidents in a bathroom reported and recorded in Frisco schools. But none of them involved any transgender students.
The board did not vote on the topic of Title IX and bathroom rules, but the discussion will continue until an agreement is reached and a vote had been taken.