Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District provided PDE with guidelines from Texas Association of School Boards; district has own guidance on transgender issues


Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District requesting any documents that served as guidance on transgender issues within the district or any documents dealing with transgender issues from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). PDE received several documents back from the district. One document was titled “Legal Issues Related to Transgender Students” that was dated 2018. PDE has found other versions of the document with other school districts in Texas.

The district explained to PDE that it does not specifically use the TASB document for guidance. However, the document does state that the TASB provides policies to districts on issues regarding discrimination, which often includes transgender issues. The TASB states in the document:

TASB offers a model policy that: (1) prohibits discrimination, harassment, dating violence, and retaliation against students: and (2) outlines remedial steps to report, investigate, and respond to concerns. Since 2005, a version of this policy has been at code FFH(LOCAL) in Texas school districts’ policy manuals. The TASB policy prohibits various forms of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of gender and sex.

The TASB then states that “the policy does not speak directly or solely about the rights of transgendered students.” Despite this statement, the document appears to label “bullying” of a transgender person as a form of sexual harassment. The document states: “Bullying of a student because of the student’s nonconformity with gender stereotypes could be considered harassment because of sex in violation of federal nondiscrimination law.”

PDE received an email that the district’s board received from TASB executive director Dan Troxell dated January 31, 2023. The email discusses the TASB document “Legal Issues Related to Transgender Students” that several school districts in Texas appear to have. He explains that “nine Texas representatives sent a letter to all school board presidents that grossly misrepresents the content of the legal FAQ.” He added that “this same group of lawmakers is unfortunately using both misinformation and disinformation to call on Texas school boards to leave TASB.”

Dan Troxell explained in the email that a version of the document has existed since 2015. He then added: “Divisive, Washington-style politics has no place in Texas public schools. As your executive director, I will always correct and clarify false information so that you have all the facts.”

The following email was also sent to the district’s board from the TASB on January 13, 2023.

PDE additionally received numerous invoices that the school district paid the TASB. Invoices were included for policy changes, workshops, membership fees, and events.

In the public records request submitted to Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, PDE received a document titled “Transgender Students” that the district does use as guidance. The document does not appear to have correlation with the TASB. The document states: “A transgender student is a student whose gender identity—one’s internal sense of gender—is different from the student’s birth gender and is a sincerely held part of the student’s core identity.” The document later states:

You may receive requests for accommodations for or from a transgender student in relation their identified gender in regards to use of name and pronoun consistent with transgender identity, dress and grooming requirements, access to restroom and locker room facilities, sleeping arrangements on school trips, and participation in school activities, including athletic activities.

The document adds: “Accommodations should be considered and made on a case‐by‐case basis and should be implemented in a way that is least burdensome on the student, appropriate to the circumstances and, to the extent possible, in accordance with the student’s and parent’s expressed wishes and concerns.”