The Kansas Board of Education has voted unanimously to ignore the Obama administration’s policy that students should be permitted to use the bathroom of their choice, regardless of their biological sex, and to allow the individual school districts to decide how to proceed. The school board contends it is vital that policies such as these are left to the local schools to decide, not the federal government.
On May 13, Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary of education for civil rights, issued a controversial directive asking schools to allow transgender students full access to bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.
In response to the unconstitutional federal overreach, numerous states have filed lawsuit against the federal government. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced this month that his state will be suing the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education over its directive, but has not decided whether Kansas would join the 11-state lawsuit or sue separately. Likewise, the Republican-led Senate of Kansas issued a nonbinding resolution that rebukes the federal directive.
In Kansas, the approach by the Board of Education to disregard the directive is a positive step in the right direction, as it asserts that education should remain local. The Washington Post reports that the resolution adopted by the school board says as much. It reads:
The Kansas State Board of Education believes that every child has the right to a high quality education delivered within a safe, inclusive and supportive school system.
In Kansas, like many other states, our schools have been addressing transgender student needs with sensitivity and success for many years. Just as every child is unique, so too is every school community. With that understanding, we are firm in our belief that decisions about the care, safety and well-being of all students are best made by the local school district based on the needs and desires of the students, parents and communities they serve.
The recent directive from the civil rights offices of the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the treatment of transgender students removes the local control needed to effectively address this sensitive issue. We must continue to provide our schools the flexibility needed to work with their students, families and communities to effectively address the needs of the students they serve. thenewamerican.com