Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick threw down the gauntlet on Tuesday against President Obama’s transgender bathroom decree and said Texas schools will not be “blackmailed” into adopting such a policy.
Patrick also said in a prepared statement he will be sending a letter to every superintendent in the state to not adopt the president’s policy.
“I am also sending a letter to all Texas school districts this week urging them not to adopt President Obama’s transgender guidelines which do not have the force of law,” Patrick said.
Patrick singled out Forth Worth Independent School District Superintendent Kent Scribner, who enacted the policy three weeks ago, and renewed calls for his resignation.
“Here we have a school superintendent whose policy says, we can keep this secret from their parents, we don’t have to tell Mom and Dad. It’s against the law, at least I believe that,” Patrick said in remarks at the Capitol, the video published on Statesman Media.
Patrick said if Scribner does not pull the policy, he should resign or be fired by the school board.
Patrick has asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to determine whether Scribner violated the Texas Education Code, and also determine if he had the authority to “unilaterally adopt” the policy without “adoption by school board vote and without public comment.”
Regarding Obama’s decree, Patrick said, “the President’s threat of withholding federal funds is just a threat. By standing together we will demonstrate Texas will not be threatened or blackmailed by a policy that doesn’t make sense and puts our girls and women at risk.”
“We will not be blackmailed by 30 pieces of silver by the president of the United States,” said Patrick, indicating the president will be hurting the poorest children in Texas if he withholds federal funding to state schools.
Of the $10 billion in federal funds Texas received over a two-year period, approximately 40 to 45 percent goes toward free or reduced lunch for needy students.
“The president will be taking food off the table of the poorest of the poor, if he wants to punish schools — that’s why I call it blackmail,” said Patrick. “So this fight is just beginning.”
Parents of transgender children also took to the Texas capitol to make their case.
Kimberley Shappley, from Houston, is the mother of a transgender child who was born a boy and identifies as a girl. Born Joseph Paul, her child is now Kai, and is five years old.
“When my child consistently and persistently insisted I am a girl, the adults in her life would get down on her level and look her in the eyes and firmly tell her, ‘no, you are a boy,” Shappley said in a prepared statement. She said her child went into depression.
“My sweet child began praying for Joseph to go to Heaven and live with Jesus. Kai was begging the Lord to let her die. Moments like these helped me to realize transition was necessary. I didn’t know how to do it. I just knew I needed to help my child,” said Shappley.
“We are private people. We are lifelong Republicans, we are Christian. We are a Houston family who only want to protect our daughter and live quietly. We did not want to speak out publicly, but the lieutenant governor has forced us out of our private lives and into the public arena to protect our daughter,” Shappley said.
“This is the face of a transgender child in Texas. I want Texans to look at my little girl’s photo. Do we as a state really want to force her to go into the boy’s bathroom? Why are we targeting innocent children for political games?” Shappley asked.