By A.P. Dillon
How would you feel if the Federal government told you that your son or daughter had to share a bathroom or locker room with a student of the opposite sex?
How would parents feel if their own school board was quietly changing policies to accommodate a few students over the majority in their district?
Parents in multiple states are finding out. Will parents in North Carolina soon face the same mandate?
In Chicago, parents have just found out that the federal government is forcing their daughters to share a locker room with a male student, who says he “identifies” as a girl. The Obama administration’s Department of Education filed suit under Title IX, claiming the Chicago school had violated the civil rights of the student in question for not allowing the male student to use facilities for female students.
The boy in the Chicago case was offered a separate dressing area to address his needs, but that wasn’t good enough. The boy, through his lawyer, demanded that the school treat him as a female since that is what he identifies as, despite physically being a male.
Meanwhile, in Boulder, Colorado, the theme is that kids need to be taught about transgenderism starting as early as second grade. Why? Because one student at one school identifies as transgender. A parent has filed a civil rights suit there to force the district to act; apparently her child has ‘gender fluid’ issues.
The take-away from the Chicago and Boulder stories seems to be that the comfort of the one is outweighing the comfort of the many.
Around five months ago, parents in Fairfax County, Virginia were up in arms after information came to light that school board members had changed its “nondiscrimination policy” to include “gender identity” – and the board acted without informing the public.
To add insult to that past injury, emails recently obtained show that the Fairfax board hired a consultant to work on the policy before the vote to make such a hiring was even taken. The Washington Times reported that the board was also paying the consultant without taxpayer approval.
Voters in Texas in this November’s election cycle overwhelmingly rejected a similar measure that would have opened up public spaces like restrooms to those identifying as transgender. Houston voters weren’t having it and the HERO ordinance was defeated by a landslide of 61 percent against to 39 percent in favor.
Kevin Williamson of National Review Online sagely noted that HERO’s creator, the first openly gay mayor of that city, didn’t use her position to aid the city in crucial areas. Instead, Mayor Annise Parker went full social justice warrior:
“Instead of a competent city-builder who is also gay, Houston got a culture warrior whose parting gift to the city is a deeply stupid fight over ‘HERO’ — the Houston Equal-Rights Ordinance — which among other things would create a new body of local civil-rights law (the lawyers cheer with one voice) covering transgender/transsexual people in the matter of public accommodations, meaning public toilets and the like. This wasn’t preceded by some crisis in the matter of toilet accommodations for men in dresses, but the issue is critically important to some people: Namely, to people who are in their affluence and comfort able to maintain a state of graceful blindness to the actual nuts-and-bolts problems facing Houston.”
Let’s turn our sights closer to home, here in North Carolina.
Recently, acting Superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools Ann Clark has moved to insert the topic of transgenderism into the district’s sexual education curriculum. What’s more, Clark has already apparently done it. Clark recently promoted a “transgender documentary” that was paid for using the taxpayers’ money.
At the state level, I asked Vanessa Jeter with Communication and Information Services at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction about the topic.
Jeter stated that, “On the legal and facility side, legal advised me that the Federal Office of Civil Rights has advised that districts should provide access to restrooms and so forth as requested by transgender students. The facilities question is really a local school board question since facilities are handled locally.”
Ms. Jeter included a statement regarding state standards and curriculum:
Currently, there are no specific standards in the Healthful Living Essential Standards that address transgender students. The information taught with regard to Reproductive Health and Safety is dictated by the Healthy Youth Act which is set by the General Assembly. Unless lawmakers choose to require that we specifically teach content, it is unlikely that it will be added to our standards.
That being said, SB526, The School Violence Protection Act does list gender identity as one of the “isms” that is protected against bullying. Schools are responsible for making sure that ALL students attend school in a safe and supportive environment. We do have standards for Mental and Emotional Health that address discrimination. Some LEAs choose to address LGBT youth as part of these standards. That is a local decision.
Looking at Wake County, which is the 16th-largest school district in the nation, the question needs to be asked: what will the Wake Board do? I asked both the Wake County School Board and Wake County Schools communications department for official comment.
I posed the following question: Does Wake have a plan to incorporate transgenderism into the district policies and intend on including it in sexual education classes? I also asked if Wake County would be allowing transgender students to use locker rooms and restrooms of their choice, as well as any future plans to create such spaces for youth who allegedly identify as transgender.
The answer I received from the Wake County Schools Communication department was brief:
Hello Miss Dillon,
Hope you are well. Educators in the school system work with issues involving transgender students on a case-by-case basis and will continue to do so. Like you, we are also following the national discussion.
Well, I’m reassured, aren’t you?
The Wake County School Board, as of the writing of this article, has yet to respond other than to ask what outlet I was writing for.
A.P. Dillon is a contributing writer on educational subjects for Civitas.