KS board criticizes transgender bathrooms

Posted at 10:12 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 23:33:02-04

The transgender bathroom issue has made its way to the Kansas State Board of Education. 

On Tuesday, Ken Willard of Hutchison proposed a resolution that the state refuse to comply with a directive from the U.S. Department of Education mandate that transgender students can use whatever bathroom they choose.

In a statement, fellow board member Steve Roberts of Overland Park said: 

"Essentially, Mr. Willard's motion, which I supported, had precious little to do with bathroom use by Transgender Students. Instead, the motion was an effort to tell the federal government that they do not have intimate domain of Kansan schools." 

Janet Waugh said, "He wanted us basically to oppose the federal overreach. I agree with the fact that I don't like federal and state mandates for our school. We are a local control state and therefore our schools should make the decisions that are necessary."

Waugh made a motion to table the issue because she didn't believe they had enough information. The board member, who has spent more than 30 years on local and state education boards, suggested looking at the Kansas State High School Activities Association policy.

"I know for a fact the high school activities association has a policy and a recommendation to the schools regarding transgenders," Waugh added. 

You can read that policy here.

Another part of the resolution would kick the issue to state legislators and the governor. This is something Waugh disagrees with. "This is something that's been going on for years, and our districts have handled it in a very professional, private way without harming any students and now all of a sudden it's become a big issue."

She would like to see local groups continue to handle accommodations for transgender students.

"I believe we've come a long way, but apparently we haven't come far enough when people are upset about issues such as this," Waugh said. 

States that do not comply with the directive from the U.S. Department of Education could lose federal funding and face legal action. The Kansas State Department of Education chair suggested revisiting the issue next month at its meeting from June 14 to June 15.



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