Various NRB member organizations have expressed their concern over and opposition to a directive that the Obama administration sent late last week to thousands of public school districts across the country.
The “guidance,” released jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education on May 13, asserts that federally funded schools are obligated to provide students access to restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities and activities in accordance with their self-proclaimed gender identity.
On the same day the guidance was released, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson guest-hosted Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch radio program. Dr. Johnson discussed the “chilling” development with Perkins, who called in to comment on the matter.
“The President of the United States has used the full force of the Department of Justice, the Department of Education to say to local schools: You will accept our view of the transgender/transsexual question,” Dr. Johnson posited.
“Up and down the line you will acknowledge this policy by federal decree or else,” he added, noting that the “or else” is the cutting of federal funding.
Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC), called the directive “absolutely outrageous” and “an overreach of federal power.”
“The President does not have the authority to do this,” Perkins noted to Dr. Johnson. “What he has done is unilaterally reinterpreted the 1972 Title IX educational amendment to say sex … includes self-described gender identity. And what’s so bad about this, as you pointed out, it’s not just bathrooms; it’s locker rooms, it’s showers. And it’s not just elementary and secondary schools; it’s colleges.”
“What this is doing is ushering sexual chaos into our schools,” he added.
NRB members were uniform in their opposition to the Obama administration’s action.
"In sending this letter today, the Obama administration has undermined their parental rights, ignoring the obvious loopholes in this policy that directly endanger children and politicizes their education,” commented Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family.
“Instead of working through the normal legislative system, the president and his agencies are assuming the role of a national superintendent. Instead of working through the normal legislative system, they've simply issued what amounts to an edict from on high,” he added in a press release.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco similarly noted the unilateral resolve of the administration in pushing its agenda despite the lack of any support in federal law for its position.
“Solutions exist to accommodate everyone without violating anyone’s privacy rights, but the administration won’t entertain those solutions because of its preference to unlawfully impose its political will through threats and intimidation,” Tedesco said in a statement.
Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called the directive from the administration “a stunning misuse of power,” while American Family Association (AFA) President Tim Wildmon called it “a dangerous policy and a liability nightmare.”
Wildmon noted how the directive “hinted at lawsuits and loss of federal funds if school districts disobey this directive.”
Daly also highlighted this, calling it “no minor threat.”
"Even more troublesome: This threat can even cover religious colleges where students get federal loans to enable them to attend, potentially endangering the religious liberties of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other educational organizations,” he added.
But the greatest concern expressed is the threat posed by sexual predators who will exploit such bathroom accommodations.
"No one concerned about opening up bathrooms and showers to the opposite sex is questioning the inherent worth and value of young people who struggle with their gender identity. We all agree they should be protected from harm and harassment, and treated with the utmost compassion,” commented Daly.
"But this can and should be done without sacrificing commonsense policies that protect all children,” he added. "There should be a balanced approach – one that does not ignore the privacy concerns of other students.”
Daly is calling on the Obama administration to consider the opinions and thoughts of parents, students, teachers, and community leaders around the nation who want to set school policies that reflect their own community's approach to these very sensitive issues.
AFA, meanwhile, is asking concerned Americans to urge their governors to direct local school districts to disregard the directive and keep the safety of children a top priority.
“Governors across this country must fight back against this radical agenda that puts the safety of students at risk,” Wildmon stated.
Already ADF has filed two federal lawsuits, one in Illinois and one in North Carolina, on behalf of students and parents who are understandably concerned about their children.
And Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has fired back at the Obama administration, stating, “As Governor, I recommend that local school districts disregard the latest attempt at social engineering by the federal government and continue to use common sense to ensure a safe and healthy environment in Arkansas schools.
“While the letter implies federal money could be withheld, the letter is nothing more than guidance and is not legally binding,” the governor added.
Several other state officials expressed concern, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. During an appearance on Washington Watch with Dr. Johnson, Patrick said, “This is social engineering that’s going to divide the country, and I believe this is the biggest issue concerning families and schools since taking prayers out of public schools.”
Those wishing to contact their governor and state legislators regarding the directive can do so by clicking here. Concerned citizens are also encouraged to call their local school superintendent and school board members. In addition, they can visit tonyperkins.com to sign a petition that FRC’s President is going to take to the Speaker of the House, urging them to take congressional action to rein in the Obama administration.
“It’s time that parents, it’s time that school boards, it’s time that states say: Enough is enough. We will not risk the safety and well-being of our children to this federal tyranny any longer,” proclaimed Perkins.
By NRB Staff
Published: May 19, 2016