March 23, 2017
Last Monday night the Anoka Hennepin School Board meeting was packed and the testimony was strong in support of privacy rights of students. The six-member school board and superintendent heard from the public in a big way regarding whether the largest school district in Minnesota should adopt a “gender-inclusivity policy” that would give special protection to transgender students. The question before the A-H Board: Should students who don’t identify as their biological sex be permitted to undress and shower in the same bathrooms, locker rooms and showers with students of the opposite biological sex?
If the testimony Monday is any indication, the answer is a resounding “No!” [See links below.] Parents and community members are realizing the urgency of speaking up to defend our children. School board members everywhere need to be informed that we the people will not accept this violation of our children’s dignity, modesty and privacy. Gender-inclusive policies mean that all children must adopt and affirm the idea that their sexual nature is only what they think themselves to be. This violates every single child in the most profound way.
One graphic example of the consequences of gender-inclusive school policies is seen in a lawsuit filed Monday in Eastern Pennsylvania federal district court against a school district, its superintendent, principal and assistant principal. A teenage boy changing for a PE class reported to
the assistant principal that a teenage girl was undressing next to him. He immediately dressed, left the locker room, and reported the incident to the assistant principal who told him that he must change clothes with students of the opposite sex, and “make it as natural as possible,” and that anything less would be intolerant and bullying against students who profess a gender identity that differs from their biological sex.
It should not need to come to this! Common sense and respect for all students should compel us to make the basic dignity of our children a priority.
Schools already know how to reasonably accommodate students with special needs. Michele Lentz, President of the Child Protection League testified Monday night that the Americans with Disabilities Act “set a standard of reasonable accommodation.” She spoke from personal experience as the mother of a child in a wheel chair. She said that the disabled “don’t demand every bathroom be handicap accessible, that every entrance have a wheel chair ramp, or that every parking spot close to the door be reserved for our wheel chair vans. People support reasonable accommodations because they are common sense solutions.” The Coon Rapids High School has already made considerable changes and investments to respectfully and reasonably accommodate the special needs of the student.
Nothing requires schools to implement gender inclusion policies—not the Minnesota State High School League, not the federal Title IX education law, not the federal Departments of Justice or Education, not the Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Act, and not the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
From the testimony of many professionals and legal experts, including reports from the American College of Pediatricians, Liberty Counsel, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, people are lining up
to stand behind challenges if Anoka Hennepin moves forward with a gender-inclusion policy. The Child Protection League made it clear that our organization is prepared to support parents in any legal challenge, just as we have supported Anmarie Calgaro in her challenge to health services and state agencies for violating her parental civil rights.
Tax deductible contributions to help us fund support for future legal actions may be made to the Child Protection and Mental Health Fund. Winning is within our reach, but we need your support.
Links to some of the Anoka Hennepin School Board meeting testimonies and resources[The numbers in parentheses after each testimony indicate where their testimonies may also be viewed in the embedded link at the end.]
- Child Protection League testimony, Michele Lentz (14:15)
- Parents Action League testimony, Barb Anderson (12:57)
- Letter from Liberty Council, Mary McAlister (submitted in writing)
- Letter from Alliance Defending Freedom, Doug Wardlow (20:10)
- North Star Law & Policy Center, Renee Carlson, Esq, (1:10:47)
- Dr. Olson Testimony (50:33)
- Hands Across the Aisle, Emily Zinos (17:30)
- MN School Board Association, Guidance on Transgender Issue, March 7, 2017 (resource included here by CPL)
- American College of Pediatricians letter to New London-Spicer School Board (resource included here by CPL)
- Gender Dysphoria in Children, Michelle Cretella, MD (resource included here by CPL)
All of the testimony may be viewed on the school district’s website. (March 20th, “Communications, Delegations & Petitions.”)