On Friday, May 13, a “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” was jointly issued to all public schools in America by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education (DOE). Its purpose is to summarize Title IX obligations and explain how DOJ and DOE will evaluate a state school’s compliance with these obligations.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was intended, in the words of its sponsor Sen. Birch Bayh (D) of Indiana, to be “an important first step in the effort to provide for the women of America something that is rightfully theirs—an equal chance to attend the schools of their choice, to develop the skills they want, and to apply those skills with the knowledge that they will have a fair chance to secure the jobs of their choice with equal pay for equal work”. Title IX is most commonly known for its application to female participation in school sports activities.
Now, however, DOJ and DOE “treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations”. Since 2014, President Obama’s administration has taken what was a legislative decision directed at fairness for women and, by its own interpretation, determined that this applies to transgender students as well. The implications are that a boy who identifies as a girl, or a girl who identifies as a boy must be allowed access to locker rooms and bathrooms of his/her preference subjecting other students to embarrassment and humiliation as well as privacy and safety violations. Failing to comply incurs the consequence of the loss of Federal funds that public schools rely on for their operations.
Our 2016 Florida Legislature has already spoken on this issue. Taking into consideration what is best for Floridians, the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act” (Senate Bill 120/House Bill 45) was killed in its first Senate Committee. The Bill sought to modify Florida’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 so that sexual orientation and gender identity would become protected classes subject to the same penalties as for discrimination based on race, religion, age and disability.
At this time, Gov. Rick Scott has not followed the example of the leaders in twelve other states who have vowed to push back against President Obama’s heavy-handed attempts to reshape culture.
- Please contact Gov. Rick Scott’s office and urge him to make a statement of his intention to protect the school children and youth of Florida by refusing to buckle to the Federal letter of “guidance” that is in direct opposition to the citizens and legislators of this state, even if it means a Federal lawsuit or reduction in funding. Call Gov. Scott at (850) 488-7146 and/or e-mail him.
- Also, make time to contact Attorney General Pam Bondi, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and your own county school superintendent and school board members. If we do not complain about this illegal action, we cannot expect Florida’s leaders to act on our behalf. Call Attorney General Bondi at 850-414-3300 and/or e-mail her. Call Education Commissioner Stewart at 850-245-0505 and/or e-mail her.
Please pray for each state leader before contacting them. Pray that they will have the wisdom and courage to do what it right.
“And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow
weary.” (Galatians 6:9)