Editorials

Paxton’s transgender potty lawsuit could end up with best solution

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Harrold ISD Superintendent David Thweatt, left, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speak Wednesday during a news conference announcing Paxton’s lawsuit challenging a federal transgender bathroom order.
Harrold ISD Superintendent David Thweatt, left, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speak Wednesday during a news conference announcing Paxton’s lawsuit challenging a federal transgender bathroom order. Austin American-Statesman

Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a federal lawsuit over which restrooms are open to transgender students in public schools.

Bring it on.

His enticing a small-town school board to adopt a policy to serve as the basis of the suit was improper.

And we might all wish we could settle differences over respect for transgender individuals without legal confrontation.

But emotions are running high and differences are sharp. The court system is built to handle such disputes, just as it eventually settled the similarly emotional issue of same-sex marriage.

Ten other states joined Texas in filing the suit in Wichita Falls. It’s focused on a policy adopted Monday in Harrold, about 30 miles away, at the urging of Paxton’s staff.

Harrold Superintendent David Thweatt said Paxton’s office called him last week.

“They just said, ‘Would you be willing to pass this policy?’ ” he told Star-Telegram reporter Monica S. Nagy.

A school district in Arizona is also named in the suit. That’s important because Arizona and Texas fall under different appeals court jurisdictions, increasing the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court could ultimately decide the case.

At issue is whether transgender students have a right to use a public restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

In Harrold, where Thweatt says none of the 100 or so students identify as transgender, the new policy says school restrooms must be “used only by individuals based on their biological sex.”

The Education and Justice department issued a directive May 13 saying a schools must allow transgender students to choose their restroom.

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