Objections from parental rights group derail vote on school district’s trans policy

By Around the Web

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Elizabeth Troutman
The Daily Signal

A parental rights group has successfully delayed a Colorado school board’s vote on what parents call a radical transgender policy for students.

The Colorado Parent Advocacy Network gathered 335 signatures in only six hours on its petition to delay the Douglas County Board of Education’s vote on the proposal to classify female-only spaces as discriminatory. Now, the group has until August to convince the school board that public opinion is against the policy, even if President Joe Biden isn’t.

“If they had voted ‘yes’ on it yesterday, it would have cemented that biological males could be in girl spaces by policy as opposed to practice,” Lori Grimesheltyn, the network’s executive director, told The Daily Signal on Wednesday. “What this policy would have done, and will do if they end up voting on it, is basically submitting the Title IX changes that President Biden’s administration has pushed forward.”

Title IX is a federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination by schools or education programs that receive federal funds.

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The Colorado public school district’s proposed policy prohibits discrimination by “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” at any school activity, event, or activity. This would allow boys to share restrooms and locker rooms with females and participate in girls’ and women’s sports.

Any student or parent opposed to boys’ sharing private spaces with girls and competing in girls’ sports could be accused of harassment under Title IX, the law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools.

The Douglas County School District prioritizes “making all kids feel safe and welcome,” spokeswoman Anna Hriso told The Daily Signal

“This, of course, includes our girls and our transgender students,” Hriso said. “We work through each situation individually in collaboration with families to ensure that each and every one of our students feels safe and welcome at school.”

When asked whether a girl who is uncomfortable sharing a restroom with a biological male could be found guilty of harassment, Hriso replied that such situations are rare.

“The situations you describe very rarely arise in our school district, but when they do we collaborate with the students and families to ensure comfort and safety for all involved,” Hriso said. “As for harassment, we always consider the totality of the circumstances—simply being or avoiding being uncomfortable without other circumstances does not constitute harassment.”

In April, the Biden administration finalized a reinterpretation of Title IX that adds prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” Several states have challenged the rule, saying it is discriminatory to allow males in female-only spaces.

The Colorado Parent Advocacy Network, a parental rights group, organized a petition to pause the school board’s votes on the policy until changes to Title IX are finalized, to give the school district more time to review the proposal and engage parents and others in the discussion.

“Recent court decisions against the Title IX actions taken by the Biden administration suggest that the rules governing these actions are likely to be revised or even revoked,” the network’s petition says. “This evolving situation necessitates a careful and thoughtful approach to implementing new policies.”

The parent group’s stated goal is “to protect the safety and well-being of all students.”

The proposed policy prioritizes the comfort of transgender students over the safety of girls, the group’s executive director, Grimesheltyn, said.

“We’re just putting kids in uncomfortable situations for a special population,” she said. “We’re giving special rights to a special group. And it’s superseding the rights and safety of other children.”

The Colorado Parent Advocacy Network says it is monitoring gender ideology and related actions in each of Colorado’s school districts.

“We’re going to see this creep into all 178 school districts, and CPAN is going to be keeping a very watchful eye on the boards that do side in favor of allowing transgender students into female spaces,” Grimelshetyn said.

However, Grimelshetyn said, she is encouraged that parents on both sides of the political aisle are starting to stand up for their rights and the safety of their children.

“This is a matter of right versus wrong,” she said. “And the majority of people strongly believe that we need to get back to academic rigor, secure and safe schools, [and] parents being the experts in directing their child’s upbringing and education.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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