Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called Tuesday for all public schools in the state to ignore new guidelines from the Obama administration on how to accommodate transgender students.
Patrick said that he plans on sending letters to all superintendents in the state urging them to disregard the letter from the Education and Justice departments.
It’s not clear what power, if any, Patrick thinks he has over local school policies as lieutenant governor.
“Transgender students deserve the rights of anyone else. It does not mean they get to use the girls’ room if they’re a boy,” he said during a press conference, according to the NBC News affiliate in Dallas.
Texas Republicans have been among the most outspoken critics of the new guidance form the Education and Justice departments. Last week, Texas led several states in filing a lawsuit against the administration over guidelines on how schools should best accommodate transgender students.
On Tuesday, Patrick also lambasted a Texas school district over its new policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
Earlier in May, Patrick called for the superintendent of the Fort Worth school district, Kent Scribner, to resign over the new policy, and on Tuesday Patrick called Scribner a “rogue, runaway superintendent,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
Patrick tied the Fort Worth policy to the Obama administration’s guidelines on accommodating transgender students.
“You have to ask the question, ‘Why did this policy come out of nowhere when there seemed to be nothing to create it?’ I said at the time because it was directly linked to the Obama policies in Washington. Some in the media scoffed,” he said on Tuesday, according to Fox4 News. “36 hours later, I was proven right.”
Patrick called for Scribner’s resignation and said that the superintendent may have broken the law by putting the policy in place without public comment or the local school board’s approval. The lieutenant governor asked the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, to issue a legal opinion on the Forth Worth policy, according to the American-Statesman.
The Forth Worth school district is set to hold a series of public meetings on the new policy beginning on Tuesday.