The “bathroom” issue looks awfully familiar and states are pushing back
Who would have thought we’d be having a national debate about bathroom access in the 21st century, but here we are. A joint “guidance” letter by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice has threatened to withhold funding from school districts who do not have a policy to allow transgendered students access to the bathroom of the gender they identify as. Districts across the country are caving to the threat. To those who have been truly following Common Core, this tactic is old hat. Without legal authority, the federal administration is circumventing the legislative process and seeking to directly bully districts into compliance with its wishes. Perhaps because the anti-Common Core warriors across the country have been educating the public about this tactic, the bullying may not work this time.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement after the guidance document was released, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex.” What her statement ignores is that transgendered students have not been denied access to facilities to respond to the call of nature, only the ability to choose, even on daily basis, which bathroom to use. “This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them.”
Dignity? Respect? Many districts have opted to allow these students access to faculty bathrooms which are often nicer than the student bathrooms. They have, on the whole, been accommodated with special access, extra time and efforts by staff to not call attention to their situation which many transgendered or body dismorphic students appreciate. This administration’s action is in response to a subset of trans students who are pushing not only for full access, but for societal normalization of their beliefs.
The administration has chosen to use the method of regulatory and fiscal threats, one that circumvents the constitutional legislative process, which worked initially to get states to adopt Common Core standards, to get states to adopt its latest policy desires. The USDEd issued conditional waivers to No Child Left Behind that included threats of loss of funding if certain actions were not taken by local school districts. The public was not happy about Common Core and they are even more unhappy about the bathroom policy. States seem to be wising up and pushing back against this latest federal overreach.
Twelve states have filed a lawsuit against the administration. The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, states that the guidance “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”
Missouri’s own Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is standing up for our state’s rights when our own Governor won’t. Even better, 108 legislators have joined him in telling the Administration, you can’t dictate policy.
Kinder wrote the following letter to the President demanding that the Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” bullying letter be rescinded immediately.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to express my total opposition to the “Dear Colleague” letter of May 13, issued by your appointed leaders at the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, dictating how public schools must run their facilities and programs to accommodate students who claim transgender status.
The letter and its demands are an unconstitutional abuse of authority by your executive branch. It is a blatant attempt to change established law, which is a function reserved for the legislative branch by the Constitution. By threatening local school districts with the loss of federal funding, your administration is seizing local control from public schools while threatening the privacy rights of Missouri students. Further, the demands set forth in the letter directly violate the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, which states that those powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.
The Dear Colleague letter goes against the majority of federal and state court decisions on this issue, as well as the clear text of Title IX and its regulations, all of which allow school districts to address these delicate issues as they see fit, when and if they arise. The letter puts Missouri public schools in the unjust position of having to choose between either doing what they know is best for their particular student population or receiving federal funding. School districts that feel forced to follow the letter’s decree in order to continue to receive funding will undoubtedly open themselves up to huge liabilities and potential lawsuits for violating students’ privacy rights and undermining parental authority rights.
Missouri schools must not be forced to comply with this extraconstitutional decree and the practical implications it would have on their operations and on their students. Please have the “Dear Colleague” letter of May 13 rescinded immediately. Its demands amount to a serious, unconstitutional infringement on the liberties and lives of the people of Missouri.
Peter D. Kinder
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
Joining Kinder are the following 108 Missouri legislators who are standing up for the constitution and state sovereignty.
At the end of the day the USDEd’s effort is part of the new wave to regulate based on feelings. Students claim to feel discriminated against even though the evidence of such discrimination is thin to non-existent. In the case of bathroom access, transgendered students needs have been met in the same way that the needs of disabled students are met. No one is required to pretend that the legless child has legs. They are required to see that his bodily function needs are met and that he is given the opportunity to learn as much as he can. Others are required to treat him politely.
When we attempt to regulate everyone else’s behavior so you feel better about yourself, we are moving beyond what is enforceable by law. When the Executive branch exceeds its authority, what is to prevent us from seeing this?
In a letter sent to schools last week, President Obama explained that longtime bans on Creationism in public schools violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Title VII specifically prohibits among other things employer discrimination on the basis of religion and demands that employers give proper accommodation for religious beliefs.
“While until five minutes ago no one considered Title VII applicable to teaching Creationism, we realize that laws are not set in stone and in fact need to develop — but definitely not evolve — with the times,” read the letter.
“Therefore, all government schools must teach Creationism or Intelligent Design as part of their science curriculum or else they will be in violation of the Civil Rights Act. With my royal seal imprinted, I have so decreed it.”
In an interview with Not Two Sides Feed on Monday, Obama explained that the directive was necessary to make a safe environment for students who self-identify as Creationists.
The above satire could be a reality that liberals would do well to ponder if we allow the precedent of such broad executive authority to be set. What happens if your ideologue isn’t in power?
Missourians can join the Lt. Governor in opposing the unconstitutional demand by the USDEd by signing on to his statement here.