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UHLC Appellate Civil Rights Clinic represents Texas educators in transgender care case

UHLC Appellate Civil Rights Clinic students from the spring semester

UHLC Appellate Civil Rights Clinic students from the spring semester

Sep. 15, 2022 — The University of Houston Law Center’s Appellate Civil Rights Clinic joins the ACLU and ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Baker Botts L.L.P. in supporting transgender teens litigating to block Texas from investigating parents who provide gender-affirming care.

The Appellate Civil Rights Clinic recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of six statewide educational organizations in Doe v. Abbott, which is now before the Third Court of Appeals in Austin.

Under existing Texas law, educators who suspect child abuse must report it immediately to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The clinic’s brief argues that this already-imprecise mandate will only cause confusion and misreporting if applied to gender-affirming care. Educators will also face conflicting state and federal legal requirements since various federal statutes protect minors with gender dysphoria. Above all, the directive will compromise education by weakening the trust all students place in their teachers.

“Texas’ new directive places educators in an impossible position,” said Martin J. Siegel, Appellate Civil Rights Clinic Director. “Forcing them to turn in their own trans students as child abuse victims, and their parents as criminals, will damage the relationship teachers have built with their students, which can only impair learning.”

The UHLC Appellate Civil Rights Clinic is representing the Texas American Federation of Teachers, Association of Texas Professional Educators, Texas Classroom Teachers Association, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, Texas Counseling Association, Texas School Nurses Organization and 13 individual Texas teachers.

The ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Baker Botts L.L.P. are representing the plaintiffs in the case: a transgender child, their parents, and a clinical psychologist.

The case is currently pending.

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