Officials in Texas and Arkansas are vowing to defy directives issued to public schools nationwide requiring the allowance of male students to use female restrooms and locker rooms and vice versa if they identify as the opposite gender.
“We will not be blackmailed by the president’s 30 pieces of silver,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick staunchly told reporters.
As previously reported, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education released on Friday guidelines requiring schools to accommodate students’ “gender identity” under threat of losing their federal funding.
“A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity,” the document reads. “A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.”
“Under Title IX, there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity,” the Obama administration further outlines, stating that students and/or their parents must simply “assert a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records” to administrators in order to be granted access to their preferred facility.
But Patrick quickly outlined that the state of Texas would not comply, even if it means losing federal funding. He said that he would direct school superintendents to disregard the departmental document.
“This is truly a modern-day come and take it moment,” he stated during a press conference. “Texans will not stand for this.”
“This will create chaos in America and in its schools, and it’s now going to be one of the key issues in the presidential election,” Patrick stated. “This will be the end of public education if this prevails. People will pull their kids out, homeschooling will explode, private schools will increase.”
Superintendent Rodney Cavness of the Port Neches-Groves School District told 12News, “That letter is going straight to the paper shredder. I have 5 daughters myself and I have 2,500 girls in my protection. Their moms and dads expect me to protect them. And that is what I am going to do.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that his state likewise would ignore the guidelines.
“The recent letter from the federal government providing guidance to Arkansas schools on gender identification is offensive, intrusive and totally lacking in common sense,” he said in a press release. “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.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge expressed her support of Hutchinson’s statement.
“Threatening local districts with a loss of funding unless they comply with this non-binding ‘guidance’ is potentially disruptive to the entire education process and lacks all common sense. These bullying and blackmail tactics are unlawful and unconscionable,” she said.
“I stand with Governor Hutchinson in urging local districts to disregard this latest attempt from the administration to force a social agenda on the states,” Rutledge outlined. “I will also work with my colleagues across the country to determine if legal action against this directive is necessary in order to keep our students safe.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also decried the administration’s actions, but did not indicate whether he will instruct districts in the state to defy the directives.