TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas Board of Education has voted to ignore the recent guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, which require school districts to allow boys who identify as girls to use the girls’ restroom and vice versa.
The board concluded unanimously 10-0 on June 15 that local schools are best suited to decide how they will handle the issue of restroom use and other matters surrounding those diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
“We are firm in our belief that decisions about the care, safety and well-being of all students are best made by the local school district based on the needs and desires of the students, parents and communities they serve,” it said in a statement. “In Kansas, like many other states, our schools have been addressing transgender student needs with sensitivity and success for many years.”
Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp had sent letters throughout western and central Kansas, calling upon school leaders to defy the federal guidelines.
“Neither our girls or boys should be forced to undress in the presence of individuals who are of the opposite biological sex,” Huelskamp wrote. “Our children should also not be subjected to a greater risk of threats from predators who seek to do them harm.”
As previously reported, the Justice and Education Departments issued an eight-page document last month that outlines that the government interprets Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as applying to those who identify as transgender.
The section, which prohibits educational institutions from discriminating against a person based on their gender, has generally been considered as applying to discrimination against women in treating females as inferior to males, including in sports programs.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” Title IX reads.
The departments consequently advised due to their interpretation of the law that schools must allow males who identify as females and vice versa to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their “internal sense of gender.”
“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,” they wrote. “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 departments noted.
The government warned that failure to follow the guidelines could result in the loss of federal funding.
“As a condition of receiving federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations,” the guidelines stated.
Within days of the issuance of the guidelines, 11 states filed suit to challenge the regulations, including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.