Abbott offers “parental rights” for some families, bullying for others

Remember Gov. Greg Abbott’s “parental bill of rights” proposal he outlined earlier this year? He claimed it was designed to assure parents have a role in their children’s education. What he didn’t say was that he was merely recopying parental rights that already were in state law and claiming them as his own original initiative.

He also didn’t say that his idea of parental “rights” and control over their children didn’t apply to every family. That’s because he has reserved political bullying for some families.

The Washington Post has reported that a 13-year-old transgender boy was pulled out of his class at a Texas middle school about two weeks ago, directed to a conference room and subjected to nearly an hour of personal grilling by a state investigator, who asked questions about the boy’s medical history, his gender dysphoria diagnosis and a suicide attempt years earlier. The encounter, his mother declared later, left the boy shaking and distressed.

This was bullying of a very vulnerable young man, and it was done under Gov. Abbott’s legally dubious order to investigate the use of gender-affirming care in minors as child abuse. Abbott’s order, issued earlier this year, followed a so-called “legal” opinion by Attorney General Ken Paxton that certain gender-affirming medical treatments could “legally constitute child abuse.” Paxton’s opinion didn’t carry the force of law and was issued solely to win both men reelection votes from their right-wing political bases.

The transgender boy’s ordeal itself was a form of child abuse and was recounted in a document filed in connection with an ongoing lawsuit by LGBTQ advocates to block these investigations.

This boy’s parents had no chance to exercise any rights, including a right to privacy, as their son was yanked from his classroom and subjected to sensitive questioning for the sole purpose of allowing Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton to reap political points from people who fear their transgender neighbors.

That is obnoxious political behavior. Abbott, Paxton and their ally, Dan Patrick, already have targeted immigrants and now the transgender community. It makes you wonder who they will harass next as they continue to pander to intolerance.

Clay Robison

Mom says trans eighth grader was questioned by Texas investigator at school


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