The guidance offered by the U.S. Department of Education drew reaction today from members of the Georgia congressional delegation, as well as a statement from Georgia’s largest school system.
39 members of U.S. House, including five members of the Georgia delegation, sent a letter to President Obama asking that the guidance be rescinded. The letter reads:
We are extremely concerned with the recent directive from your Administration threatening legal action against or denial of congressionally appropriated funds to local school districts that do not allow students to use their bathroom of choice regardless of their gender. We ask that you rescind your poorly executed threat to school districts across the country and reaffirm their right to govern themselves as they see fit within the bounds of the law.
To date, neither statute nor legal precedent has extended civil rights protections based on gender identity. Furthermore your actions threaten to infringe on the constitutional right of Congress to appropriate funds. We view this as an effort to implement your administration’s political agenda outside the bounds of the law and against the will of the American people.
The letter was the brainchild of 1st District Rep. Buddy Carter. Other members of the Georgia delegation signing the letter include 9th District Rep. Doug Collins, 8th District Rep. Austin Scott, 3rd District Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, and 7th District Rep. Rob Woodall.
Meanshile, Gwinnett County Public Schools issued its response to the federal guidance. The district said that it believed Congress or the courts would ultimately resolve the issue. until that happens, the district said, local schools and districts are responsible for handling it with common sense and sensitivity. In the end, the district will continue to follow its current practices:
As we intentionally work to provide a supportive, inclusive learning environment for every student, we employ proven, common-sense practices designed to accommodate as fully as possible the needs of our large and diverse student population. We believe our current practice is reasonable, logical, and workable, and therefore, it should not be uprooted by what we consider an overreach by two federal agencies. After carefully considering the issue, GCPS will continue to provide students with sex-designated restroom facilities, while offering gender neutral facilities to any student who does not wish to use the restroom facility designated for his or her biological sex.
Will that be enough to mollify critics’ concerns? The Gwinnett School Board meets this Thursday, and the United Tea Party of Georgia sent an email to its members saying it intends “to get a group together and let them know that we demand they stand up to the Federal Government and refuse to allow boys (and men!) into our girl’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.”