Local Supts. Weigh In On Obama Transgender Policy

Local superintendents weighed in on the Obama administration’s federal mandate issued May 13 demanding all school administrations adhere to and implement a transgender policy.
This means that bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in schools will be accessible based on a student’s gender identity. Because the president can’t mandate this as law, he has threatened to remove school funding if schools don’t comply.
The directive comes from two top administration officials: Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, and Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It put state and local officials and higher-education institutions on notice that they risk losing federal education aid if they limit students to areas or teams based on their gender assigned at birth, according to the Associated Press.
The action was taken just days after the Justice Department and the state of North Carolina filed counter lawsuits over a new law requiring individuals in that state to use bathrooms based on their birth gender.
Dr. David Hoffert, Warsaw Community Schools superintendent, said the school corporation provides a safe learning environment to all students.
“Our local school board policies, currently in place, guarantee safety to all students. These policies include anti-bullying and anti-harassments policies. There are no current proposed changes in school board policy relevant to this issue. Locally, our teachers and administrators work daily with dignity and respect to many sensitive student situations within our schools. WCS will continue to monitor legal cases and guidance provided by the state of Indiana.”
Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee Community Schools superintendent, said, “The directive that came out a week ago was a guidance letter, not law. It said a student could use the bathroom that they identify with.”
He said the school has never had an issue at Wawasee with the use of restrooms due to gender identity.
“What we do at school with an issue like this is we would sit down with a student and the parent and talk about what and why and work out some kind of accommodation,” Edington said.
He said the school has a private bathroom that could be used if that is what they feel comfortable with.
Brett Boggs, superintendent of Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, released the following statement Friday:
“As you know, the position of these federal agencies has sparked many questions and concerns from Indiana schools as to how they should respond to the guidance.
“Though we are unaware of any transgender students within our schools, we recognize the number of transgender students in Indiana schools is climbing. As a result, schools are being required to balance the interests of transgender students with the privacy interests of other students.
“This balancing act is very difficult for schools, which is made even more challenging by the uncertainty of the law. The guidance is not law, and there is currently no State statute or binding State or Federal case in Indiana that squarely addresses this issue as it pertains to transgender student use of school facilities (such as restrooms or locker rooms).
“If such a situation arrives at Tippecanoe Valley, we will work with the transgender student and their parents/guardians on an individual basis to determine whether accommodations may be provided that are mutually agreed upon between the school district and the individual student/family.
“Our intent at this time is not to implement a broad overarching policy applicable to all transgender students; rather, we will work with families on an individual basis to try to address each individual student’s circumstances and concerns.  We understand that not every transgender student will want or expect the same accommodations, and this approach allows for flexibility on a case-by-case basis.”
Monica Boyer, president of the Indiana Liberty Coalition, released the following statement May 13: “Today is a devastating moment in history for families in the state of Indiana. Moms and dads send their children to school each day trusting that they are safe. The Obama administration has put our children in danger. No longer can they count on the trusted adults in their lives to keep them from harm. Boys showering with little girls after basketball practice is an open door to the unthinkable. This is an unprecedented government overreach and it must be stopped.”
The ILC is asking Hoosiers to call their state and local officials and let them know that they will not tolerate this move from the Obama administration.
ILC Vice President Amy Schlichter is quoted in the same press release as stating, “Your circle of influence is very powerful. We need to use every avenue of communication that we have to reach our friends, neighbors, local officials and make them aware of the dangers this detrimental action of the Obama administration brings to Hoosiers.”
The Indiana Liberty Coalition bills itself as an organization that advocates, promotes and supports policies that protect life, individual liberty and limited government.