First posted on IdahoEdNews.org on January 25, 2023
Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador this week questioned the legality of “dangerous” and “questionable” LGBTQ+ rights policies already in place in about one-third of Idaho’s school districts and charters. bottom.
The policy came to light when I attended the Caldwell School Board meeting on January 9th. Yelling at, insulting, or threatening a board member Draft policy that may establish rights and protections for all students, regardless of sexual orientation. The Management Committee was forced to end the meeting early.
On Monday, the Labrador took to Twitter to speak out in discord. My office is seriously considering how the Caldwell School Board can protect parents, children and existing laws in Idaho if it chooses to adopt this policy. . Labrador further elaborated on his concerns in a Wednesday letter to Misty Swanson, executive director of the Idaho School Board Association.
If adopted, Caldwell’s draft would read:
- Allow students to use bathrooms and changing rooms according to their gender identity.
- Prevent students from being denied overnight trips based on their sexual orientation.
- Request district staff to use the student’s preferred name and pronouns.
- Protect student privacy regarding personal information such as sexual orientation and real name.
- Protect the right of same-sex couples to participate in school activities, including dancing, and prohibit general discrimination against those couples.
Caldwell’s Draft policy Derived from the Model Policy of the Idaho Board of Education. ISBA works with attorneys and staff to develop model policies that can be used by districts and charters and tailored to individual needs.
ISBA Deputy Director Quinn Perry estimates that about 60 local educational institutions or LEAs, including traditional school districts and charters, already have LGBTQ+ policies in place. Perry noted that districts where students can use bathrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity can create accommodations for other students who may find it offensive. .
On Tuesday, Perry said he had no reason to believe the policy violated current Idaho law, and reiterated that ISBA’s model policy is under scrutiny by attorneys.
Labrador’s office initially declined to comment when asked for details on how the policy violates Idaho law or the implications of Labrador’s tweets against the LEA, where such policies are already in place. rice field.
Emily Kleinworth, a public relations specialist for the Attorney General’s Office, said in an email Wednesday morning, “We have not filed a lawsuit in the press and therefore cannot comment on the specific legislation involved at this time.
But hours later, Labrador’s office sent EdNews a letter he wrote to ISBA executive director Misty Swanson.
“I find it disturbing and inconsistent with the values you have stated that ISBA advocates a dangerous policy that actively deprives parents and families of the rights that are the foundation of any schooling system. ” wrote the Labrador in the letter.
Labrador also cited Idaho Code 67-1041, which defines the duties of the Attorney General.
“As Idaho Attorney General, it is my job to protect the rights of Idaho residents and protect the state’s legal interests,” Labrador wrote. , is deeply concerned that parents in Idaho have violated their fundamental right to direct the care and education of their children and violated the First Amendment rights of educators. I am afraid that will endanger the students…”
Labrador raised a number of specific concerns, including that the policy would be:
- “Allow biological men to use women’s locker rooms and restrooms”
- “Forcing teachers to use pronouns that do not correspond to the student’s biological sex”
- “School employees should be required to hide the intimate choices of students regarding sex and gender, along with potential gender dysphoria, from their parents.”
Labrador also advised ISBA of the role it may have played in providing legal advice to the Caldwell Board of Education regarding this policy.
“Navigating important and sensitive balances of state and federal power and authority is something nonprofits should refrain from,” he said.
Swanson was not available to comment on the letter.EdNews will update the article if Swanson or ISBA provide further comments.
Republican Sen. Cindy Carlson calls LGBTQ+ rights policy ‘garbage’
With State Superintendent Debbie Crichfield Senator Cindy Carlson of R-Riggins is also complicit in the policy.
On Monday, the Idaho Freedom Caucus posted a photo of the exchange of letters between the two on their Twitter page.
In an email dated January 19, Critchfield wrote to Carlson about whether the Idaho LEA should “adopt gender-related policies that address topics such as overnight travel and student accommodation at schools.” Provided “some clarifications and background”.
There is no federal or state mandate requiring schools to adopt such policies, but local educational leaders may choose to do so, writes Critchfield.
However, LEAs are also subject to “high federal scrutiny and potential legal risks” if they do not implement such policies.
“Based on this reality, local education leaders may find themselves in a losing position,” wrote Critchfield. “They may adopt policies that some patrons find objectionable, or risk nasty federal investigations and legal action.”
Last year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Title IX states that it protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and enforces Title IX.
In a January 23 reply, Carlson wrote: should not Please accept these policies for fear of discriminatory allegations from federal agencies. ”
According to the Office of Civil Rights, “LGBTQ+ students often face additional challenges at school, including excessive exposure to persistent bullying, harassment, and victimization.”
“The Department of Education is committed to providing schools with the support they need to create successful learning environments for all students, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne. B Goldberg said. June 2021 press release“As part of our mission to protect the civil rights of all students, it is imperative that OCR act to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ students.”
Carlson urged Critchfield to “take immediate action and remind the school board that the enactment and enforcement of these policies may be subject to criminal liability under Idaho law.”
Carlson then cited obscene exposure and child abuse laws.
Carlson CC nominated Gov. Brad Little, Labrador, Sen. Chuck Winder, Rep. Mike Moyle, and the Idaho Senate Education Committee to “unitely oppose these controversial policies,” and to protect the children of Idaho. called to protect us.
“We want to send the message that we want to educate the children of Idaho not to indoctrinate them with this garbage,” Carlson wrote.
On the same day, Labrador posted a comment on Twitter about Caldwell’s proposed policy.
Various LGBTQ policies already in place, some mirror Caldwell’s draft
EdNews searched for policies in some of the largest districts and charters in the state and found several places where policies similar to Caldwell’s draft were in place. Links to these LEAs and their policies are provided below.
- Bonneville School District: Read Policies here
- Twin Falls School District: Read Policies here 82 pages
- Idaho Virtual Academy: Read our policies here 164 pages
- Idaho Art Charter: Read the name/gender change policy here Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Policies and Policies here
- Sage International: Read our policies here page 94
In some cases, policies already on record are very similar to Caldwell’s draft policies. This is the case for policies in place at Twin Falls School District, Idaho Virtual Academy, Idaho Arts Charter, and Sage International.
But otherwise the policies are markedly different.
For example, Bonneville policy states that unless a student has a doctor’s note that “provides that they are receiving medically prescribed hormone therapy under the supervision of a physician for the purpose of sex reassignment, the You must use the restroom/changing room according to “.”
For overnight trips, students are “assigned a bedroom according to the gender assigned to the student in official school records.” However, policy allows student accommodation if requested by a parent.
Bonneville’s policy does not require staff to use student-preferred names and pronouns whenever possible, as do other LEA versions of policy.
What’s next for Caldwell? Labrador promotes another public meeting.
After the January 9 board meeting was shortened, the board also canceled a second public hearing on the proposed LGBTQ+ student policy “after careful consideration and safety concerns.”
“The Board will work with Caldwell Police Department to develop a plan to ensure the safety of attendees at all future conferences as the safety of our students, parents, sponsors and staff is paramount. ‘ said the district. In a statement posted on the website.
At this time, it is unclear when or if another hearing will be held.
On Monday, Labrador appeared to be pushing another public meeting in a second tweet about policy. Parents have the right to be present and heard on all matters affecting their children. We look forward to parent access at future meetings. ”
Morning headlines delivered to your inbox