An Open Letter To Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

Let's talk about this lawsuit Texas is filing.

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An Open Letter To Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
DAVID BRO/ZUMA PRESS/CORBIS

Dear Lt. Governor Dan Patrick,

Recently, you declared that the state of Texas, along with several other southern states would be filing a lawsuit against the United States over the school bathroom policy President Obama has put into place. Your argument against the policy is that it will be the “end of public schools” and little girls will be “traumatized” to see a man in the women’s bathroom. You also claim that sexual predators will then be allowed access into these student restrooms, which then puts children at risk. Now, I am a firm believer in understanding and accepting all opinions, regardless if I agree with them. So, I am acknowledging your opinion and all of those who agree with you, but I do not think you are right to withhold transgender students from being able to use the restroom with which they identify.

I saw your piece on Fox News with Megyn Kelly and heard your statement that you, as lieutenant governor, oversee all the money that is used to fund public schools and that your background in education gives you a better understanding of what should happen within schools. Now, I would give you credit for that if there was actual equitable funding within schools and if you were finding a way to advocate for all students, which is what educators must do. Could you explain to me why some school districts are spending astronomical amounts of money on things like football stadiums, but others are struggling to get enough money to fund all of the students who need free/reduced-price lunches? As an educator, shouldn’t you be making sure all students are able to have the funds to build said multi-million dollar stadiums? Or maybe we should be making sure all students in all districts have enough money to have the best technology and highly qualified teachers rather than focusing on materialistic things. And your comment that President Obama is going to take funds away from the poorest of the poor students is not accurate. You are the one that will be taking the money away because you are the one opposing the policy. This is just like when Eisenhower was in office and would withhold money for roads if the states did not raise the drinking age to 21. Same circumstances, just different situations. If you’re going to take $10 billion away from the schools, you better have a plan to make the funding for Texas public schools more equitable so that all students are taken care of. It should also be known that the courts have once again ruled that Texas's public school funding system is unconstitutional, so it's the best time to revise that plan and make it equitable.

Speaking of all students, I would also like to know how you are going to accommodate the students who are transgender. Your opposition to the policy has been heard, but what about those students? You can’t just take transgender students out of the equation and pretend they don’t exist; that would not be advocating for all students, which is explicitly discriminating against certain ones. All students should feel safe in schools. The LGBTQ students are at higher risk to be bullied and harassed in schools due to their sexual orientation and making them go to the bathroom of their biological sex puts them at higher risk of harassment because of the stigma associated with being LGBTQ. How are we going to ensure their safety within schools in instances of bullying and harassment? All students need to be kept safe.

I would also like to know why you would be letting sexual predators in the schools? I mean, if you really are worried about those types of people going into school bathrooms to attack young girls, why are you letting them in the front doors of the school anyway? What about the boys who are targets for sex offenders, how are we going to protect them? Or the countless women who are attacked by men, but are told that because they were walking alone or wearing something “provocative” that the incident is their fault? How do you plan on protecting them?

In all, Lieutenant Governor, I don’t feel as if this is as big of an issue as you have made it out to be. Really, by having gender-neutral bathrooms, will only allow for inclusion of all students. I understand the concern you have for some of the students getting accustomed to the gender-neutral bathroom policy, but we have to be inclusive of all people. By the Texas Educator Code of Ethics, we must provide a safe place for all students, which include transgender students.

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