By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
June 24, 2016
CHARLOTTE – In March, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Ann Clark said when it comes to transgender students, the system works “on an individual, case-by-case basis with that family and that student to make sure we are providing them with a safe and joyful journey through CMS.” On Monday, it was announced that for roughly 400 out of 146,000 students, that “joyful journey” would include being called by whatever name and pronoun they choose and being given unfettered access to restrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.
The new policy flies in the face of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as HB2. But Clark says it is necessary to ensure that students feel safe and comfortable.
That’s not quite the same idea of “safe” many North Carolinians have in mind.
In a statement released to the press, Tami Fitzgerald, who heads the N.C. Values Coalition, said, “Every child deserves a safe space, and it’s our duty as parents to fight for their right to privacy.” She said the new policy will “endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning.”
“The district should continue their current policy to offer accommodations to students that have different preferences without compromising the privacy rights of all other students,” Fitzgerald said.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, had a different take, saying he believed that Christian parents everywhere, especially those with children in the Charlotte Mecklenburg schools, should see the circumstances as a call to get their children out of the public schools, and opt for either Homeschooling or a private Christian education.
“The current situation is a demonstration of the way secular education, which is a practical form of atheism, is ripped away from reality. Students are in a compulsive learning environment where they daily absorb a false sense of reality. Their thinking will inevitably become confused and chaos result in their lives. Absolutes are denied. So morality, common sense, and decency consequentially are turned on their heads,” said Dr. Creech.
According to media reports, CMS has said that all students will have access to some forms of increased privacy. They can ask to use a screened area in a locker room or a single-stall restroom. The policy will require teachers to alter their rosters to reflect transgender students’ preferences and will prevent them from dividing their classes along gender lines unless they have a specific educational purpose in doing so.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said CMS should have waited for the courts to rule on HB2 before making such a broad decision.
“Instead of providing reasonable accommodations for some students facing unique circumstances, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System made a radical change to their shower, locker room and restroom policy for all students,” McCrory press secretary Graham Wilson said via a release.
The school system policy is the latest skirmish between Charlotte and North Carolina over transgender issues. A new city ordinance that would have forced businesses to open their single-sex restrooms to people of the opposite gender in April prompted state lawmakers to call a special session in March to pass HB2, a countermeasure that requires people in governmental buildings and schools to use the bathroom associated with their biological sex.
In mid-April the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use restrooms based on their gender-identity, and in early May the U.S. Justice Department threatened the state over the law, which it said violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. State officials and the Justice Department then filed dueling lawsuits in the matter, none of which have come to court.