Some people might get the impression that the law requires schools to open up their girls' shower, locker and bath rooms to biological males who identify as girls (and vice versa). But that's not the case.
That's why a statement by Tony Sanders, chief executive officer of School District U-46 in Elgin might give the impression that the law requires the district to adopt the transgender policy. In a Chicago Tribune story "Transgender student locker room access debate erupts in Elgin," Sanders said:
"We're here to serve the needs of every individual student who comes through our doors, which by law we're required to do, and it's the right thing to do," said Sanders, who added the district was in compliance with federal guidelines from of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Well yes, common sense and the law require that the needs of every student be served, but there is no law that requires a school district to adopt the transgender locker room/shower room/bathroom access policy. And he is correct that the U.S. Department of Education has issued what it calls "guidelines" to every school in the country to follow its transgender shower room policy.
But several points need to be made clear:
- "Guidelines" are not the law.
- The Department of Education adopted these "guidelines" in violation of laws that require public notice, public hearings and other well-defined procedures before administrative regulations can take effect. The department did none of that; it issued the "guidelines" as a fait accompli.
- The department and the Obama administration called them "guidelines" as a ruse to avoid the required administrative procedures.
- As "guidelines" these directives theoretically are not enforceable.
- But the department is acting as if they have the force of law. The blatant example is the threat it made to Palatine-based Township High School District 211 that it would lose millions of dollars of federal funding unless it complied with the "guidelines."
In short, the department acted and continues to act deceptively and illegally. The department's actions rightly are being challenged in court by a group of District 211 parents.
And District U-46 compounds that deception by not informing parents that it was implementing the policy. It became public only after a school board member, Jeanette Ward, outed the district and correctly brought it up as a matter that deserves public discussion and parent involvement. It took a lot of brass for the district to try to sneak this through. Clearly, it was an arrogant and cowardly act. For her troubles, Ward is being called, as in the story's comment section, "a chronic troublemaker constantly stirring up trouble from a reactionary agenda."
So, the ad hominem attacks will be unleashed on Ward and anyone else who agrees with her. For small minds, all that needs to be said to convince them is that the idea came a "reactionary" individual.
But what else can you expect from the Obama administration and school administrators who think they know so much more than parents?
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