Frisco ISD students and parents have been discussing the district’s bathroom policies for well over a year now. But on November 14, the conversation will continue and a vote may be taken during a school board meeting.
FISD does not have a set policy that is put in place for staff and students who identify as transgender, but instead, make accommodations by request. This is not a light decision. The school sets up a time to meet with the requesting student and their parents to find a solution. Typically, this means the student gets access to single-stall restrooms.
“If for any reason a student is uncomfortable using a particular bathroom, families meet with campus staff and collaboratively determine the best course of action for that child,” the FISD website states.
The district’s current practices follow federal laws, but the board could vote tonight to make those practices a permanent policy. Currently, federal law prohibits any discrimination on the basis of sex, which according to the U.S. Department of Education, includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity. In this case, Federal law prohibits FISD from denying students equal access to bathrooms.
The proposed policy states that "to the extent permitted by law" each multiple-occupancy bathroom or changing facility owned or operated by FISD would be used only by persons based on the person’s biological sex. But special requests can still be submitted to the district. Frisco ISD does not anticipate any change to current practice based on the policy if it is adopted.
Update 11/15/2022: Frisco ISD board members voted 7-0 to approve the policy that would make students use bathrooms and other facilities according to the gender they were assigned at birth. But the new policy states that it would not prohibit the district from making accommodations for students or parents upon request.
One speaker, Mitchell Tillison, has a transgender daughter in the district that uses a gender-neutral bathroom. He is concerned that his daughter will face prejudice following the new policy.
"We are taking away and stripping the ability for the school to weigh in with the individual needs of kids fully," Tillison said. "Every situation is different. My child may not want to use a gender-neutral restroom down the line. I would want to have the option to figure out the next steps, and that's going to be harder with a policy like this."
However, other speakers pushed the board to vote for the policy by quoting biblical verses.
“The school board will consider adopting a policy on this issue,” Assistant Communications Director for Frisco ISD Meghan Cone told Local Profile. “There is a possibility for a vote, and members of the public may choose to sign up to speak,” However, there was already a lengthy discussion and public comment on this issue back in September.”
Cone quoted the FISD website, adding, “FISD strives to provide an optimal learning environment in which all students feel safe, valued and welcomed. To that end, we confer with families to ensure that individual needs are met and that we are providing a safe and supportive environment for all students.” She continued explaining that the commitment to FISD students will not change and “accommodations will continue to be provided upon request.”
But many parents have discussed their worries with the board. Several parents do not want their children using the same bathroom as a trans student and worry that they will be uncomfortable in those situations. But the board previously commented that out of all the 361 documented bathroom “instances,” none have involved a transgender student.
The topic is not likely to go away any time soon, but with a clear policy, the school will have rules for students to follow.