The El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday morning to send a letter to state legislators outlining the District’s opposition to the so-called Bathroom Bill being considered by Texas lawmakers.
The bill could severely restrict access to bathroom and other facilities for transgendered individuals who seek to use restrooms that best suit their needs. If approved, the law would impact the way school districts manage facility access for transgendered students.
“EPISD has a long history of being a District of inclusion and a safe space for all children. The Bathroom Bill being discussed in the Legislature is harmful for children and addresses a problem school districts do not have,” said Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “Our students are safer not because we restrict their access, but rather because we create opportunities for learning and understanding.”
EPISD’s forward-thinking policies prohibit discrimination and harassment of any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, disability, age, gender stereotyping and perceived sexuality, perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The letter from EPISD is addressed to Texas Speaker of the House Joe Strauss and the members of the El Paso County Delegation to the Texas Legislature.
In it, the District asks legislators to allow local schools – and not the state – to come up with ways to handle bathroom access for transgendered individuals, since administrators, teachers and parents have the best interest of students in mind and can make decisions that impact them in a positive manner.
EPISD works with transgendered students on a case-by-case basis to come up with accommodations that best suit their needs based on the input from teachers, parents and the students themselves.