An internal memo in the Department of Education says officials will investigate schoolteachers who do not comply with children’s demands to be called by the opposite-sex pronoun, for example, ‘her’ instead of ‘him.’
The instruction was part of a jargon-filled memo dated June 6, and signed by Candice Jackson, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Education Department, which provides instructions to staff concerning “complaints involving transgender students.”
The memo tells department lawyers how to respond when they get complaints involving “transgender students.” It says the department’s left-wing lawyers can use recent and disputed federal court decisions — not the elected President’s popular policies — to justify high-pressure lawsuits against teachers who have normal attitudes about the equal, different and complementary status of males and females.
For example, lawyers can investigate a case of “hostility” where school personnel are “refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred name or pronouns when the school uses preferred names for gender-conforming students or when the refusal is motivated by animus toward people who do not conform to sex stereotypes,” the document says.
The his-her pronoun issue is especially sensitive because federal support for the transgender ideology would mean that a child can use federal lawyers to threaten other students and teachers in school until they submit by referring to the child by the biologically incorrect pronoun, even in science class.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian civil rights organization, says the long-standing Title IX laws have nothing to do with calling students by pronouns they prefer. “Title IX does not require a school district or teacher to call students by false gender pronouns,” he said. “Title IX is silent regarding the use of pronouns, and it cannot be a violation to refer to students by pronouns consistent with their actual sex.”
Requiring false pronoun usage by teachers is a compelled speech violation for teachers and compelling students to participate in a lie violates their right to free speech. I thought we had seen the last of this nonsense coming out of the Department of Education. I call upon Betsy DeVos to end this new policy.
In February, the Trump administration reversed former President Barack Obama’s guidance that allowed gender-confused students to use the bathrooms and showers of whichever gender they prefer – without restrictions – rather than those corresponding to their biological sex.
Regarding the reversal of the policy, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said:
We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate. At my direction, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.
DeVos’s statement, however, followed a report in the New York Times which suggested she was at odds with the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over changing Obama’s pro-transgender policy. That policy sought to remove any legal or civic distinctions between women and men, boys and girls by allowing “transgender” people to switch their legal sex, and then use the opposite sex’s bathrooms, athletic leagues, and pronouns.
Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan Anderson applauded the Trump administration’s decision to reverse the Obama-era transgender bathroom directives, and further urged Congress to clarify that mentions of “sex” in the law do not mean “gender identity.”
“This would ensure that unelected bureaucrats and judges would not be allowed to reshape policy that affects women and girls,” he added.
The Trump administration has said the school bathroom issue was a states’ rights issue, rather than one for the federal government to decide.
However, as Breitbart News reported, although Trump’s new policy has discarded legal documents produced by Obama’s deputies, it has not formally rejected the transgender ideology. The ideology claims that a person’s legal sex — and their pronouns — are determined by their flexible choice of “gender identity,” not their actual biology. Those Obama-era rules told officials that they must comply with the child’s life-changing decision, even if the parents oppose.
Jackson emphasizes that the Trump administration’s reversal of the Obama policy still requires OCR to “rely on Title IX and its implementing regulations, as interpreted in decisions of federal courts and OCR guidance documents that remain in effect, in evaluating complaints of sex discrimination against individuals whether or not the individual is transgender.”
But the courts are being pushed by transgender advocates to impose the ideology onto unwilling parents, kids and school districts. In one federal court decision, Whitaker v. Kenosha, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that Kenosha Unified School District violated federal law and the Constitution by protecting the privacy of the many students who would be forced to share bathrooms and showers with a teen of the opposite biological sex who claimed to have switched gender.
In the May 30 decision, the judges completely accepted the teen’s claim that people can switch their gender identity as they please simply by declaring themselves to be “transgender.”
A very small proportion of Americans attempts to live as members of the opposite sex. Only about 1-in-2,400 Americans, for example, have changed their names from one sex to the other, according to a study of the 2010 census.
The OCR memo also underscores the potential dangers inherent in school vouchers and other financial mechanisms that use taxpayer funding to facilitate school choice. Federal oversight, as seen in the OCR memo, could be extended to these schools as well.