President Trump has sent a letter to public schools rescinding the “bathroom mandate” put in place by the previous administration. The move sends a clear message that privacy and safety is the top priority for our kids.

Autumn Leva, policy director at Family Policy Alliance, tells us there’s much to be grateful for in Trump’s latest action.

TAKE ACTION:

Tell President Trump ‘Thank You’ for Stopping the Bathroom Mandate.

 

On May 16, 2016, the parents of Derby High School students received an email:

Dear Parents,

Today at Derby High School, a local news outlet produced a story on the recent directive issued from the Federal government relating to transgender students and the use of public school restrooms. Prior to the news story, Derby Public Schools sought legal counsel on the issue. Based on this the district has directed Derby High School to comply with the guidance issued from the President, The United States Justice Department of Civil Rights and Department of Education.

Just like that there were no longer boys and girls bathrooms at Derby High School.

There had been no consultation with parents, no public meetings to discuss or debate such a significant and obviously controversial change in policy. Schools officials had received the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” just days earlier and unilaterally agreed to adopt its radical new interpretation of federal law. The letter, co-issued by the Department of Justice and Department of Education, claims that schools are required to “treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations.”

In other words, a statute passed in 1972 to protect the rights of girls in educational programs and activities actually preserves the right of boys to identify as girls.

The parents of Derby were having none of it. Swiftly, they began working to preserve the privacy and safety of their daughters and sons and ensuring that their local school would not serve as a vehicle for the revisionist sexual agenda out of Washington, D.C. They spoke up at school board meetings, formed a Facebook group and collected petitions. In the time since, one school board member has been replaced and the superintendent has announced plans to retire.

Now, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas is stepping up to help the parents of Derby in their fight to replace the six remaining members of the school board.

See, this is about more than Derby. Every public school in Kansas received the Obama administration letter and school officials are deciding whether to comply. If we can prove to them that parents won’t have it and there will be repercussions, we won’t be ignored.

We need your help.

The recently introduced Kansas Student Privacy Act instructs schools to maintain separate facilities for boys and girls. It also requires administrators to provide reasonable accommodations for those who ask. Enacting this fair, commonsense law is going to be a battle in Topeka. Will you sign our petition and help move it forward?

Thank you, as ever, for your concern and support of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. To borrow from The Beatles, “we get by with a LOT of help from our friends.”

Sincerely,

Eric Teetsel
President

common-sense

The bathroom issue will be front and center in many states this year, and Texas is no exception.

Right now, the state Senate is considering SB 6, the Texas Privacy Act, that would stop men from getting access to women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and changing areas.

“Texans overwhelmingly oppose these attacks on women’s privacy and safety,” said Jonathan Saenz with Texas Values. “Our Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst are to be commended for introducing this legislation.”

A recent Texas voter survey found a majority of Texans agreeing that public restrooms should be restricted by gender.

“This bill is written not to bring a controversy,” Kolkhorst said. “The Texas Privacy Act is a thoughtful solution to a sensitive issue. It preserves an expected level of privacy for our public schools and buildings. At the same time, it also allows for schools and universities to make personal accommodations for those requesting an alternate setting. The responsibility falls on all of us to protect citizens and ensure that their personal and private rights are secured.”

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This past year proved to be a challenging one for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. The Legislature sent him a bill (HB2) that protected the privacy and safety of women and children by requiring people to use the bathroom consistent with the sex on their birth certificate. He gladly signed it, calling it “common sense.”

That’s when gay activists went to work. They lobbied big business to boycott the state. Musicians canceled concerts. The NCAA pulled games. The ACC moved a tournament. Incredible pressure was put on the governor and other elected officials to “fix” the law. Still, Gov. McCrory put North Carolina families first.

McCrory was up for reelection in November and Family Policy Alliance worked in tandem with the North Carolina Family Policy Council to get people out to vote. This week, McCrory conceded the election to his Democrat opponent, Roy Cooper.

For me, it was one of the most difficult defeats of the election cycle.

During the toughest time for the governor, we asked you to send him a digital postcard to encourage him. Ten thousand of you took us up on our offer and Gov. McCrory noticed.

Now, we’d like to ask you to join us in thanking him for standing up to the bullies and being a voice for the privacy and safety of women and children. Thank him for his service to North Carolina and his commitment to common decency.

All you have to do is visit our Action Center and fill out your information. Gov. McCrory will receive an email from you expressing gratitude and wishing him the best as he moves on to other endeavors. Nothing will remove the sting of an election loss, but we hope your thank you will make it just a little easier.

Gov. McCrory has given a lot of elected officials courage. Courage they will need to withstand pressure to make compromises and set aside their deeply held beliefs in order to appease an agenda. We are grateful for his example and want to simply say, “Thank you.” Won’t you join us?
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Paul Weber
President and CEO
Family Policy Alliance

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More than 8,900 students, parents and community members have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold student privacy and safety.

The document concerns the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. A female student there is asking to use the boys restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities.

“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students,” said Gary McCaleb, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the brief. “Decades of court decisions have established that, in light of the right of bodily privacy, no law grants opposite-sex persons access to single-sex facilities, where the interest in privacy is obviously strongest and bodily exposure is so common.”

President Obama decreed that school districts across the nation must open the most private of facilities to anyone of either sex, by redefining the terms of Title IX in federal law. The Supreme Court has put a hold on that edict pending outcome of this case.

“Title IX’s regulations specifically authorize schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls,” said Matt Sharp with ADF. “The policy accommodates students who aren’t comfortable using facilities designated for their biological sex without neglecting the established right of children to bodily privacy and safety.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn how you can speak up on the bathroom issue. Check out “Ask Me First!”

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One school district in Minnesota is feeling the effects of President Obama’s bathroom edict. The school district in Virginia, Minnesota is now facing a lawsuit from 11 parents outraged over the school allowing boys access to girls restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities.

The Minnesota Family Council (MFC), one of Family Policy Alliance’s nearly 40 state-based policy groups, said it’s the responsibility of every parent and school administrator to protect the safety, dignity and privacy of students.

“This common sense responsibility was jeopardized when the Obama Administration issued a baseless transgender mandate in May,” said John Helmberger with MFC, “threatening schools with the loss of federal funding if they choose not to comply. Students in Virginia’s public school system are among those currently facing heartbreaking consequences of such policies due to the administration’s decision to adopt President Obama’s transgender mandate.”

An attorney from Minnesota will represent the families on behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom. Helmberger says the facts of the case will show that the policy is a burden on the majority of students in the school and presents a danger them.

“The recent lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of a parent-student group demonstrates many Minnesotans’ desire to ensure common sense privacy rights for every student,” he said. “This lawsuit gives parents an opportunity to hold Virginia, Minnesota public schools accountable for a serious responsibility that they’ve abandoned – the safety and privacy of all students. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Support Family Policy Alliance’s “Ask Me First” campaign on social media!

 

United We Stand White House GraphicWith all that’s going on in the culture, you’ve probably felt like giving up. Maybe you’ve even said these words, “What difference can one person make?”

One mom in Virginia may have said those words, but instead of giving in, she decided to do something about it. When she found out about President Obama’s bathroom decree, she began talking to friends and family. Those conversations birthed an idea – United We Stand.

On July 12th, we’re asking you to call President Obama at 1pm eastern and tell him, “No” on his bathroom policies. Family Policy Alliance, Family Research Council and other national groups are all backing this effort.

Make it a point to call. You can make a difference and together we can protect the privacy and safety of our children.

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Five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law today that required abortion sellers to meet the same level of medical safety standards as other similar surgical centers.

Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer described such basic requirements as an “undue burden.”

The three conservative justices stood against the decision. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “Our law is now so riddled with special exceptions for special rights that our decisions deliver neither predictability nor the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.”

Family Policy Alliance filed a brief with the high court in support of the commonsense law. President Paul Weber said women deserve better than today’s ruling.

“All abortionists and abortion facilities should be held to the same basic standards of care we expect in other surgical centers in our country,” he explained. “Is this ruling really considering the best interests of women? Likely not.”

Jonathan Saenz, president of our ally Texas Values, said the five justices care more about profits for abortion clinics than safety for women.

“Our main concern is the protection of innocent life and Texas women,” he said. “We will continue to stand for women to keep them safe so they are not maimed or die in abortion clinics.”

Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, said the Court is forcing states to accept “inferior care in order to make it easier for abortion sellers to stay in business.”

“Hillary Clinton is already celebrating it as a victory,” the attorney said. “If she is elected president, we can expect a liberal court for generations.”

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Fifty-one families signed on to a lawsuit seeking to change a dangerous restroom policy enacted by a Chicago-area public school. It allows students to use the restroom of the gender which with they say they “identify.” It would give boys access to girls restrooms, locker rooms and showers.

Township District 211 instituted the policy after the U.S. Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from the school. The DOE claims the school is in violation of Title IX.

“No government agency can unilaterally redefine the meaning of a federal law to serve its own political ends,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The Department of Education is exceeding what it is legally and constitutionally allowed to do. In fact, at least five other federal and state courts have rejected the DOE’s interpretation of Title IX.”

The lawsuit asks that the policy be overturned and any agreements with the Department of Education deemed illegal. Attorneys with the Thomas More Society are serving as local counsel on the case.

“It’s a massive step backwards to force women to give up their inherent right to bodily privacy,” said Thomas More Society attorney Jocelyn Floyd. “To impose such a rule on still-developing teenage girls, as they’re already struggling with puberty’s changes on their bodies and social pressures to look a certain way, undermines their dignity and tells them that their rights don’t matter. This isn’t a message our schools should be sending to our girls.”

4th Circuit Bathroom GraphicFamily Policy Alliance is proud to work with nearly 40 state-based family policy councils, including The Family Foundation of Virginia. Victoria Cobb is president of the organization. This op-ed appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Stephanie is the adoptive mother of two girls who were sexually assaulted, each of whom suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. In a raw and powerful letter addressed to members of the Virginia General Assembly telling her story, she wrote: “A particular risk to my daughters is exposure to the anatomy of the opposite sex. To my daughters, the male anatomy is a weapon by which they were assaulted. But the risk extends to even being in the presence of biological males in situations where my daughters feel vulnerable, such as when they are using the bathroom, changing clothes, or showering.”

Now, according to a federal court, assault victims like her daughters will just have to deal with that horrible fear.

Are we really willing to force sexual assault victims into situations like these?

Even for most adults, preferring to shower or dress in the most private atmosphere possible is completely rational. Remarkably, that natural desire for physical privacy in public restrooms, locker rooms and showers shared by the overwhelming majority of Americans is being attacked as unreasonable, discriminatory — even bigoted. Worse, some are attempting to force our school children into vulnerable interactions with kids of the opposite sex in restrooms, locker rooms and showers, in addition to those who have suffered sexual abuse.

Last week the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opined that a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools should be interpreted as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Despite erroneous media reports, the court did not mandate that schools immediately require access for students to restrooms of the opposite sex, despite a request by the plaintiff and ACLU for just that. Instead, the case was sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.

Yet for the first time, rather than following the plain language of law, a court concluded that the term “sex” no longer refers to the reality of biological differences between males and females. Rather, it refers to an individual’s subjective and changing feelings of “gender identity.” No other court in the country has come to this conclusion.

More important, as Judge Paul Niemeyer said in his dissent, the decision “overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety. . . . An individual has a legitimate and important interest in bodily privacy such that his or her nude or partially nude body . . . (is) not exposed to persons of the opposite biological sex. Indeed, courts have consistently recognized that the need for such privacy is inherent in the nature and dignity of humankind.”

The court argues that ignoring the realities of biological sex is necessary because the plaintiff may feel “irreparable harm” at not being able to use the restroom of her choice.

But what about the irreparable harm and humiliation children might feel being exposed to someone of the opposite sex in a locker room or shower? Is their humiliation and discomfort at having their bodies exposed to someone of the opposite sex irrational?

And while the ACLU may argue this case involves only restrooms and not locker rooms and showers, logic dictates — as Judge Niemeyer rightly stated in his dissent — the new definition of sex cannot be compartmentalized and must be applied to showers and locker rooms.

Unfortunately, the court failed to properly consider the vast harms that will result from allowing boys to share private facilities with girls. Students from all walks of life find it deeply humiliating and offensive to be forced to share showers, restrooms and locker rooms with the opposite sex.

For those students, there is no “appropriate use” that justifies the deeply harmful intrusion on their privacy. This is especially true for victims of sexual abuse, which some reports put at 1 out of 10 students under the age of 18, and for whom the very presence of a biological male in a female restroom will trigger psychological and emotional harm.

The privacy rights and safety of vulnerable school children shouldn’t be cast aside or used as a political pawn for special-interest groups that desire to impose a genderless society.

Remarkably, the court seems to have concluded that a single student’s need for public affirmation trumps the desire inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, dismissing even the fear of sexual assault victims. Hopefully, a reasonable court will step in and reaffirm that our children have the dignity of basic privacy rights in bathrooms and showers. Anything short of that will put vulnerable children at tremendous emotional, physical and developmental risk.