: May 13, 2016
Idaho officials took aim Friday at President Barack Obama's directive to the nation's public schools, allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities. Idaho's Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction each called the White House letter to schools an "overreach."
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter wrote late Friday that the White House order was a "power play," adding that, "This federal ‘guidance’ dictates solutions to very personal and sensitive matters that should be left to local school administrators, school boards, teachers, parents, students and communities. This action creates needless concern and confusion for students, parents and educators."
Lieutenant Governor Brad Little echoed his running mate, writing Friday that Obama was "stretching the true meaning of the gender equality law for public schools to go around Congress and impose his own agenda on individual states and local school districts.”
Fellow Republican and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra wrote Friday, "This is yet another example of an extreme top-down approach that won't change day-to-day bathroom use—schools in Idaho are already following bathroom procedures set forth by the U.S. Department of Education."
: May 13, 2016 9 a.m.
Every school district in the U.S. was expected to receive a letter from the Obama White House Friday morning saying all transgender students should be allowed to use the bathrooms that match their gender identities.
The New York Times reports
, "it doesn't have the force of the law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration's interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid."
The letter from the Obama administration reads that under federal law, for schools to "ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns."
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wasted little time in praising the directive, writing, "This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender young people but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools."
But opponents were quick to push back against the letter, beginning with Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who told Dallas KDFW-TV
, "This will be the beginning of the end of the public school system as we know it."
North Carolina Governor Greg Abbott chimed in, saying, "President Obama, in the dark of the night—without consulting Congress, without consulting educators, without consulting parents—decides to issue an executive order...forcing transgender policies on schools and on parents who clearly don't wan't it."