As if teaching during a pandemic is not already hard enough, Texas teachers have been given another task. This task threatens to damage their relationships with students and their parents.
Earlier this month Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion on Texas law. This opinion stated that gender-affirming medical care for children is a form of child abuse.
On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked, in a letter, for “licensed professionals” such as “ doctors, nurses, and teachers” to report any suspicion of gender-affirming care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Furthermore, Abbott reminded licensed professionals they could face “criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse.”
Figuring out who you are is a part of growing up, and school may not be a safe place if students fear their parents will be investigated due to a report to DFPS by their teachers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics supports gender-affirming care especially since these youths are more likely to suffer from depression or suicide ideation.
Amber Briggle, who is a parent of a transgender child, has recommended that parents of transgender children create a “safe folder” just in case they are reported for child abuse. In this folder, Briggle advises parents to include documents that shows their children are doing well and evidence to support they are good parents.
It is unclear what will exactly happen if a parent is reported. What is clear is that organizations such as the ACLU of Texas have stated they have the backs of transgender students and their parents.