As school starts across the nation, parents and students are discovering their local districts implementing new policies that not only affect transgender students, but also have shocking effects on the entire student body.
According to federal guidelines issued in a May 2016 Dear Colleague Letter, public schools should no longer provide single-stall, unisex facilities for transgender students, but MUST now allow any boy who “identifies” as female (or vice versa) to use the opposite sex’s bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, sports teams, and even hotel rooms on overnight field trips.
Needless to say, this is an alarming invasion of privacy, safety, and dignity for many of our schoolchildren, especially those who have been victimized by sexual abuse.
But what can you DO about it? Four things:
1. Get informed
- Read the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague Letter” for yourself here.
- Read a legal analysis rejecting the administration’s guidelines here (skip the North Carolina-specific section, and read the analysis in general), noting the conclusion, “Both federal and state courts have almost uniformly rejected arguments suggesting that Title IX requires schools to give students access to opposite-sex restrooms and changing areas.”
- Read Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s June 22, 2016, constituent letter here, noting the governor called the guidelines a “federal overreach” that “does not have the force of law” and concluded that suggesting uncompliant schools could lose federal funding is “an unnecessary threat.”
- UPDATE! On 8/21/16, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction, stopping the Obama administration from enforcing – or even investigating a school for failing to comply with – the new guidelines. According to the judge’s official ruling: “The Court concludes this injunction should apply nationwide.”
- UPDATE! Iowa parents and school boards should be aware, that despite some lawyers insisting the Iowa Civil Rights Code mandates open bathrooms, that same code actually states in section 216.9.2: “This section does not prohibit an educational institution from maintaining separate toilet facilities, locker rooms, or living facilities for the different sexes so long as comparable facilities are provided.” It further provides in 216.9.1a an exception to retain gender-specific athletic teams.
- If you are going to speak out about it in school, read up on the legal rights of K-12 students here, and college students here.
- Discover the free tools and guidelines for parents and students at TrueTolerance.org, a project of Focus on the Family
2. Act locally
School districts all over Iowa are agreeing to the administration’s guidelines, hook, line, and sinker. Inform your school board that neither common sense, nor the law, nor the courts, nor the governor of Iowa support the notion that schools must open their intimate facilities or athletic programs to members of the opposite sex.
3. Support state-wide efforts
The FAMiLY LEADER isn’t just a source of information and voice for your values: We are actively working at the State Capitol to stop this madness. The FAMiLY LEADER is bringing pastors to Des Moines to speak with state education officials, the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office, state legislators, and more, representing your concerns in places you may not have access. Our lobbyists meet regularly with lawmakers, informing and equipping them to make a positive difference, and one of our key priorities right now and in the coming year is giving parents greater local control over schools and more freedom and choices in education for the children.
When you ask, “Who is going to DO something about this?”, the answer is The FAMiLY LEADER. Please consider donating to our work today by clicking here.
4. Think bigger
The reality is that this is just the latest battle in our culture’s mad dash away from the heart of God. We have lost sight of truth and morality, and there’s more garbage ready to come down the line.
Yes, concerned parents and Christians across the state need to work together to safeguard our children, but even more importantly, we need to unify together in prayer that God would change the hearts and minds of our leaders across this country. We need to pray for nothing short of cultural transformation, nothing short of revival … because nothing else will do.
Join the growing, global prayer movement for revival in America. Over 20,000 people have already signed up, in 30 countries around the world. Come, join us in unified prayer today, simply by downloading the free If 7:14 prayer app.