529 parents support transgender student in Dripping Springs bathroom controversy
The Dripping Springs bathroom controversy heated up on Monday with parents who support the transgender student sharing a private side to the public battle.
“All we want is for everyone to understand that being a transgender child or the family of a transgender child is laden with heartache, anxiety and fear,” read Karen Silcox from a statement from the mother of the third grader at the center of the bathroom debate at Walnut Springs Elementary.
The 9-year-old student was born a boy but identifies as a girl. Walnut Springs Elementary is now allowing her to use the girl's bathroom.
“I met this young girl as a kindergartner,” said Silcox. “At the time she still looked like a boy to the outside world.”
The mother of three says over the next four years she saw a child born a boy, transform physically and emotionally.
“With each change in gender expression she smiled more often. She held her shoulders a little higher and her eyes met mine,” said Silcox.
Now the third grader is 9 years old. At Monday’s news conference at Founders Memorial Park several parents displayed pictures of her holding hands with her friends.
“When she started third grade my son (who is also a third grader) mentioned that he thought she was all the way a girl and I agreed,” said Silcox.
It doesn't seem to matter that the girl at the center of this bathroom controversy is the one wearing a pink shirt and has her hair in a ponytail. For these kids and their parents this is a time they all need to stand together.
“At Walnut Springs there is no safety threat for allowing this little girl to use a stall in a girl's bathroom,” said Silcox.
Parents took the same message to Monday’s school board meeting. 529 people signed a letter of support for the third grader and many of them were quick to stand and be counted during the public forum section of the meeting. But about a dozen people remained seated and the conservative nonprofit, Texas Values says their voices need to continue to be heard.
“It's parents who called us first, so that's why we even got involved in the issue,” said Nicole Hudgens a policy analyst with Texas Values.
Texas Values says concerns about privacy and safety in school bathrooms would be easy to address.
“A private faculty stall or a single stall restroom. I think that's perfectly reasonable. That would protect the privacy and dignity of all students,” said Hudgens.
Texas Values and some parents in the Dripping Springs Independent School District submitted a Public Information Act Request to DSISD requesting all communication between district employees regarding the bathroom issue including emails about the school district’s decision to allow the third grader to use the girl’s bathroom.