Fort Worth ISD superintendent clarifies new bathroom guidelines

Fort Worth ISD held its third public forum on its controversial bathroom guidelines that set off a firestorm of criticism from parents and politicians.

The superintendent addressed the group at Thursday’s meeting as he hoped to clear up some of the more pressing questions that have come from parents about these guidelines and how they'd be implemented. He also said he is open to change.

During the third of six community forums on transgender guidelines, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner promised to listen, but also did a lot more talking.

"With input and collaborative effort, we can make any policy, any guidelines, any document better,” the superintendent said.

While the guidelines are vague on how and under what circumstances boys who identify as female would be allowed to use a girl's restroom, Scribner hoped to define it further.

“Can a boy now go into a girl's restroom at a Fort Worth ISD school just because he says he's transgender? Absolutely no. That's a violation our student code of conduct and would be subject to disciplinary action by the campus administrator,” said Scribner. "Bottom line is that this guideline will not cause a boy and a girl to be in the bathroom at the same time."

The guidelines also say that under certain circumstances, a teacher or administrator would not be allowed to discuss a student's gender identity with that student's parents. That point became the subject of a legal challenge filed by the Lt. Governor on Tuesday.

"The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, CPS dictates that at any time a school employee has cause to believe a student's mental health or welfare could be adversely affected by abuse or neglect, then certainly we must report that,” Scribner explained.

The district has been praised by LGBT groups for adopting the guidelines. Keith Annis, a parent of two daughters in the district, supports the superintendent.

"I believe these guidelines protect the most vulnerable student population that we have,” said Annis. “Transgender children are highly susceptible to things like suicide or attempted suicide, highly susceptible to being kicked out of their homes and being forced out on the street. We need to protect all the children."

Superintendent Scribner declined an on camera interview with FOX 4. He said he would only do an interview after the community forums were complete.