Kansas Schools and the Bathroom Bill

After voting about whether or not to enforce President Obamas transgender bathroom guidelines, the Kansas State Board Of Education unaminously voted to leave the enforcing of these guidelines to the discretion of each school district in the state

On on May 13, President Obama recently instructed all public school to use restrooms of the gender with which they identify– a move that does NOT carry the force of the law.

The Kansas State Board of education responded with an open letter to the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice

The recent directive from the civil rights offices of the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the treatment of transgender students removes the local control needed to effectively address this sensitive issue. We must continue to provide our schools the flexibility needed to work with their students, families and communities to effectively address the needs of the students they serve.” Official statement from the Kansas State Board of education

While the directive is not legally binding, the Obama administration has threatened to withhold federal aid from states that don’t observe the directive, at the peril of underserved youth from poor school disctricts who rely on such federal funding for things such as free school lunches.

Scott Gordon, general counsel for the state’s education department, says he does not think the board’s statement will jeopardize federal aid.

He says the threat of loss of federal funding is not sweeping, contending that the entire state would not lose federal education funding if one school is found out of compliance with the anti-discrimination law.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced earlier this month that the state will sue the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, which issued the bathroom decree.

Schmidt has not yet decided whether the state will join the lawsuit being filed by Texas and 10 other states, or sue separately.

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