Supporters, Opponents of New Guidelines to Gather in Fort Worth on Tuesday
Texas RepublicanÂ Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for the superintendent of Fort Worth schools to resign for following federal law byÂ enacting a progressive new policy for dealing with transgender students.
According to the policyÂ unveiled by SuperintendentÂ Kent Scribner last month,Â trans students are generally allowedÂ toÂ use restrooms and participate in athletics accordingÂ to their gender identity. The policy also requires teachers to use preferred names and pronouns, and bars staff from disclosing students’Â gender identity, including to parents, except on a need-to-know basis.
But not surprisingly, it’s the restroomÂ provisionÂ that caught Patrick’s attention. In a statement, Patrick accused Scribner of putting “his own personal agenda ahead of more than 86,000 students attending 146 schools.”
â€œWithout anyÂ discussion with parents, board members, principals, and other community leaders, Dr. Scribnerâ€™s unilateral action, underscores this lack of fitness to hold his position as superintendent,” Patrick said. “Campus safety should be of paramount concern for anyone in his position. Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged.”
In an interview withÂ WFAA-TV, Patrick said he’s also calling for three members of Scribner’s executive staff to resign. And if they refuse to do so, he’s asking the school board to suspend them at its regular meeting Tuesday night, where supporters and opponents of the policy are expected to turn out in droves.
“This is uncalled for,” Patrick said. “So we want a 15-year-old boy full of vim and vigor that every 15-year-old boy has, walking into the girls’ bathroom. They’re just creating trouble. For what? This superintendent, he’s so irresponsible for doing this, that he needs to step down.”
As we reported the other day, the Fort Worth district’s new policy has also prompted calls for stonings from some critics, including a former GOP legislative candidate.Â
As for Patrick, his opposition to trans rights is nothing new. HeÂ spent more than $50,000Â onÂ a TV ad opposing Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance â€” in which he railed against “Men in Women’s Bathrooms” â€” and heÂ recently calledÂ for a statewide anti-trans “bathroom” bill.
Also Monday, GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who last week sent a threatening letter to Target over the retailer’s support for trans rights,Â applaudedÂ GOP North Carolina Gov. Pat McCroryÂ for filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in defense of the anti-LGBT House Bill 2.
Equality Texas issued the following statement responding to Patrick and Paxton:
“The Lt. Governor and Attorney General demonstrated today that they are blinded by transphobia. Federal education guidelines define the rights of every public school student, including transgender students, and we commend the Fort Worth School District and its superintendent for issuing guidelines which are consistent with federal law. By fueling hysteria and creating panic where none need exist, the Lt. Governor appeals to the worst chapters of our history, in which discrimination runs rampant and understanding and compassion are absent. Transgender students, like transgender adults, donâ€™t want to cause any problems;Â Â they simply want to use the bathroom when the need arises. Ignoring federal law, as the Lt.Â Governor urges the Fort Worth school district to do, would put at risk significant federal educational funds on which our state depends and would ultimately cause for our state the significant economic chaos now faced by North Carolina. The demands by the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General that we should ignore federal law are not only dangerous and economically risky, but also demonize transgender students, many of whom are forced to drop out of school because of the constant bullying and aggression they face. Equality Texas calls upon our state leaders to expend our stateâ€™s resources on improving public schools, rather than putting their funding at risk in a cruel and futile attempt to deny equality to all.”Â
I’ll be live-tweeting from Tuesday’s Fort Worth school board meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Central time. Follow me @LSQnews.Â
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‘Why Is That So Hard to Answer?’: GOP Candidate Squirms as CNN Host Forces Him to Admit Trump Lost
A Republican congressional candidate from Alaska finally conceded that former president Donald Trump lost the 2020 election on Friday — but not until after being asked the question no fewer than four times by CNN host Alisyn Camerota.
Camerota was following up on a story about another candidate for Alaska’s only House seat, Greg Brelsford, who recently left the GOP to become an Independent, citing “attacks on democracy.”
On Friday, she interviewed GOP candidate Randy Purham.
“So you heard one of your opponents, who was saying that basically he’s tired of all the re-litigating of Donald Trump’s election loss,” Camerota told Purham. “Are you one of the Republicans he was speaking of who believes Donald Trump did not lose the 2020 presidential election?”
“I’m not going to say that he did not lose, but we realize there are some irregularities with the election,” Purham responded, before Camerota cut him off.
“Just to be clear, do you think he lost?” the host said.
“Marginally,” Purham responded.
“But you believe that Donald Trump lost the election, and Joe Biden is the rightful president of the United States?”
“To a degree,” Purham said.
“Why is that so hard to answer?” Camerota asked.
“It’s not hard to answer,” Purham responded. “There’s a lot of issues that we’ve seen with the election, and we see how things are turning out right now with this administration, so —”
“But that’s different, Mr. Purham,” Camerota said, again cutting him off. “That’s different if you don’t like certain policies in the administration, it’s different than whether or not you can say definitively that Donald Trump lost and Joe Biden won.”
“I can, and I have,” Durham said, finally appearing to acknowledge Trump’s defeat.
It takes multiple questions to get the Republican candidate to say definitively that Biden won:
Question: Do you think he lost?
Question: But you believe Trump lost and Biden is the rightful President
Parham: To a degree pic.twitter.com/iGuX6P6Yeq
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 21, 2022
Florida Republicans Advance Bill Banning Discussion of LGBTQ People in School Under Guise of ‘Parental Rights’
Under the guise of “parental rights” and “student welfare” a Florida House committee has advanced legislation that would ban primary school discussion of LGBTQ people or topics, could require school officials to notify a parent if a student comes out as LGBTQ, bans schools from withholding that information from parents in many cases, and allows parents to sue if schools violate those policies.
Florida House Bill 1557, “Parental Rights in Education,” was advanced out of the Education and Employment Committee, The Tampa Bay Times reports. Its author, Rep. Joe Harding, the founder of a local lawn care company, was described by a local paper when he won his 2020 race as as “a supporter of anti-abortion legislation and the Second Amendment.”
The bill in part reads: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director, spoke out against the legislation Thursday:
Today, lawmakers moved forward a bill to ban discussion of LGBTQ people in schools. Our own Jon Harris Maurer had a powerful reply:
“We’re parents, students, & teachers. We are your brothers & sisters. Conversations about us aren’t something dangerous that should be banned.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4vxM5dAxgV
— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) January 20, 2022
The bill must pass through one additional committee before being voted on by the full House.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), who is running for governor, weighed in:
HB 1557 & SB 1834 would ban all discussion of LGBTQ issues, history, people and more in the classroom.
It's a direct attack on our LGBTQ+ youth who already face higher risks of bullying and suicide. These bills are anti-history and go against creating safe learning environments.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) January 21, 2022
A call to Rep. Harding’s office was not returned.
Draft Memo Reveals Trump Had Plan to Order Defense Secretary to Seize Voting Machines
A draft executive order obtained by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack reveals President Donald Trump had a plan, which he did not enact, to order the Secretary of Defense to seize voting machines in an attempt to stay in power after the January 20, 2021 inauguration of President Joe Biden.
There was also a plan for Trump to deliver a speech titled “Remarks on National Healing.”
“I hereby order,” reads the draft executive order, dated December 16, 2020 and published Friday by Politico. “Effective immediately, the Secretary of Defense shall seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention,” citing a federal law.
Politico adds that “the draft order would have given the defense secretary 60 days to write an assessment of the 2020 election. That suggests it could have been a gambit to keep Trump in power until at least mid-February of 2021.”
The author of the executive order is unknown, with at least one expert suggesting it was likely written by someone outside the administration.
This is a breaking news and developing story. This article has been updated.
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