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Kansas officials know government overreach when they see it and aren’t afraid to push back against it.
The Kansas Board of Education voted unanimously this week to ignore President Obama’s transgender bathroom directive.
“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 board’s statement said, according to The Washington Post.
“In Kansas, like many other states, our schools have been addressing transgender student needs with sensitivity and success for many years.”
Last month the Obama administration issued a directive requiring all public school systems to give transgender students access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
While the directive, signed by the Departments of Justice and Education, lacks the force of law, those public school districts that fail to comply could be the subject of a lawsuit or loss of federal funding.
The Post reported:
Obama administration officials and LGBT activists have said that the directive is necessary to ensure that schools are protecting the civil rights of some of their most vulnerable students. Transgender people report high rates of bullying and harassment, as well as depression and attempted suicide.
The directive’s announcement last month has sparked intense debate on both sides of the issue. Eleven states, led by Texas, sued the federal government, alleging that the directive “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”
Stephanie Mott, executive director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, sits firmly on the other side of the issue and called the board’s vote “extraordinarily sad.”
“The state board of education has no idea what it’s like to be a transgender person in this state, especially a transgender youth in a school that’s not accommodating,” she said.
Kansas concluded its statement with a 10th Amendment states’ rights argument.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.”
The Sunflower State to the Obama administration: Bring it on!
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