Here’s what we sent to the media regarding today’s news. I hope to address this topic – and the issues surrounding it – in greater depth next week. –JD
Focus on the Family President: Obama Administration’s Letter to Public Schools Undermines Parental Rights, Politicizes Education of 50 Million Schoolchildren
““There should be a balanced approach – one that does not ignore privacy concerns”
Colorado Springs, Colo. – Focus on the Family President Jim Daly issued a statement reacting to the Obama Administration’s letter to public schools on bathroom use today.
“Today the Departments of Education and Justice issued an ominous warning to U.S. schools that receive federal funding via a ‘dear colleague’ letter: open up your restrooms, locker rooms and showers to students who believe they are the opposite sex – or lose your federal funding.
“This is no minor threat. Federal funding of education amounts to billions of dollars and impacts about 16,500 school districts and 7,000 colleges, universities and trade schools. It also applies to charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries and museums that receive federal aid, according to USA Today.
“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.
“And the students who might voice common-sense concern and privacy issues around sharing bathroom and shower facilities with people of the opposite sex? They must now be accommodated by the school with a single-occupancy bathroom, instead of asking the student who identifies as transgender to use that bathroom.
“Focus on the Family represents millions of parents around the country who are alarmed by this order and concerned for the privacy and safety of their children.
“Case in point: On the very same day news of this letter was released, we learned that an 8-year-old girl in Chicago was brutally attacked inside a woman’s restroom by a man. The youngster was choked and dragged unconscious into a stall before her mother, responding to the sound of screams, raced inside to investigate.
“This horrific story highlights my concern that violent predators will exploit such bathroom accommodations, thus endangering the most vulnerable among us, especially our young daughters and sons.
“For the sake of the safety of our children, I believe it is necessary that the transgendered community agree to continue the long standing policies of requiring individuals to use the restroom of their gender at birth. By shouldering this burden, I believe they will be helping to protect our children. After all, we know that sexual predators will use every means possible to carry out their evil deeds.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“But this can and should be done without sacrificing commonsense policies that protect all children.
“There should be a balanced approach – one that does not ignore the privacy concerns of other students.
“I call 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.”