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The Brief: Dripping Springs Parents Debate Bathroom Access

Parents and children at Walnut Springs Elementary School in Dripping Springs debated at a board meeting Monday night the school’s decision to allow a transgender student, born a boy, to use the girls’ bathroom.

Jaime Coble, who has three children currently enrolled in the Dripping Springs Independent School District, at a Dripping Springs Independent School Board meeting on Monday, September 26, 2016. Coble and her husband are against the policy allowing a transgender third-grade student at Walnut Springs Elementary to use the girls' bathroom in accordance with her gender identity.

The Big Conversation 

Parents and children at Walnut Springs Elementary School in Dripping Springs debated at a board meeting Monday night the school’s decision to allow a transgender student, born a boy, to use the girls’ bathroom.

The main concern stated by many parents was that the school’s principal had not informed them of the decision. Many also expressed concerns over how the changes would affect their kids. Blake Stolter, the parent of two girls at the school, said the decision to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, “affects the emotional, physical and mental well-being of my daughters.”

As the Tribune’s Elena Mejia Lutz reports, many current students and parents of those who attend the school said they support the changes. Grant Tate, the parent of an 8-year-old attending Walnut Springs Elementary, said, "Our kid doesn't care [about who goes in or out of the bathroom.] He wants his friends to feel comfortable and safe. The fear comes from the adults.”

The discussion at Dripping Springs is just the latest instance of conflict in Texas over transgender students and bathrooms. In May, the Obama administration issued guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. A Fort Worth federal judge, Reed O’Connor, blocked the administration’s move just before the 2016-17 school year, ruling that the “status quo” should remain in place.

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Debate report card: Clinton tops Trump on policy knowledge, showmanship, The Dallas Morning News 

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Rick Perry isn't cool as Ice in 'Dancing' duel, Houston Chronicle 

Texas Association of Business: 'Bathroom Bills' Bad for Business, Texas Observer

Former Williamson DA John Bradley resigning from job in Palau, Austin American-Statesman

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Quote to Note

"That was so calculated that it was stunning to me. I think I have to apologize and say, maybe, perhaps, those of you who said Ted Cruz is calculating and a smarmy politician, I think I may have to slightly agree with you and apologize for saying, 'No, he wasn't.'"

Glenn Beck in an interview Monday with U.S. Sen Ted Cruz on his decision to endorse Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump

Today in TribTalk

Police use of force: don't force it, by Randy Peterson — The Texas Tribune's "Unholstered" series is to be commended for contributing to a critical public discussion. However, reducing a police-involved shooting to only a statistic based on city, race, armed, or unarmed suspects or other factors inevitably leaves out too much relevant detail.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   The Texas Response To Zika on Oct. 18 at BCBSTX Headquarters in Richardson

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep Michael McCaul on Oct. 25 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

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