By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
January 20, 2016
RALEIGH – According to a recent article in the Raleigh News and Observer (N&O), Hayden Riner and C. J. Lewis, both 17 years of age and transgender, have petitioned Wake County Schools Superintendent, Jim Merrill and school board member Jim Martin, to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their choice.
Wake County school officials told the N&O some transgender students are already allowed to use the restroom of their choice, while others can use staff bathrooms. The decision of whether to approve requests from transgender students is determined on a case by case basis, with some granted and others denied.
Lewis created an online petition that has garnered 814 signatures. The preface to the petition tells the story of his friend, Riner, whom he says, “was instructed by his teachers that he could not use the men’s restrooms and instead had to use the women’s.” Riner is a female that identifies as a male.
Lewis is now asking for a change in Wake County Public School System policy “to specifically protect transgender student’s right to use a restroom congruent with their internal identity and protect them from bullying and harassment from students and faculty.” He adds, “Bathrooms are supposed to be a non-issue, so long as they’re clean, but when you’re transgender, like Hayden and I are, they turn into something much more stressful.”
The N&O reports Riner left her High School, Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, the same school Lewis now attends, when problems related to her transgenderism became too much for her. Riner enrolled in an alternative school and since graduated.
Last year, the Obama Administration filed a friend-of-the-court brief, in support of a transgender student, Gavin Grimm, in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board. Grimm, a female who identifies as a male, sued the school board to use the restroom for men, arguing it that to deny her that right violates the ban on sex discrimination in education under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.
A federal district judge rejected Grimm’s request, which prompted Grimm to appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Concerned a decision by the 4th Circuit for Grimm would be binding on all North Carolina school districts and remove any flexibility in dealing with transgender issues, Gov. Pat McCrory called on North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to join South Carolina’s Attorney General in filing an opposing friend-of-the-court brief. When Cooper refused, McCrory acted and filed the brief himself.
McCrory said, “This attempt to centralize gender identity policies in schools at the federal level is another example of Washington encroaching on the local decision-making of the teachers and parents who know their students best. The privacy and well-being of our students is paramount. Our local school districts and parents are best equipped to make decisions based on their own unique student populations.”
Jim Martin told the N&O he’s comfortable with leaving flexibility to staff members to handle transgender issues and that current school policies already prohibit bullying on the basis of gender identity.
But John Rustin, head of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, expressed to the N&O that he still has concerns about any policy, even when it’s decided on a case by case basis, that allows a transgender student access to restrooms different than his/her biological sex.
“To adopt a policy that could have a detrimental effect on a wide swath of students to accommodate a single student or a small handful of students when a different type of accommodation could meet that same need doesn’t seem like a common sense or a reasonable approach,” Rustin told the newspaper.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the N&O also interviewed him on the issue, but the publication only printed a fraction of what he told the reporter.
“I told the reporter the Scriptures teach us that in the beginning God made them male and female. To claim that gender is something fluid is to live in another reality,” he said. “Values may be in the throes of redefinition by many on the left today, but subjective feelings do not determine one’s sexual identity. Being male or female is not dependent on how one may feel at any given moment in time. Our chromosomes, genitalia, other features, and hormones all fit our birth sex, showing us God’s design.”
“These restroom policies that allow students to use a toilet opposite to their biological sex convey the message to children that their gender is not connected to their anatomy. I think they cooperate, even facilitate, what has been rightly categorized as a mental disorder, thus harming the children who are suffering from it. They also violate other students’ rights to bodily privacy and safety. They could even cost taxpayers by opening up the schools to litigation,” added Dr. Creech.
The Christian Action League urges parents that send their children to public schools to be pro-active in finding out what the policy is of the schools their children attend. Parents are urged to oppose any policy allowing a student to use a restroom, locker room, etc., contrary to his or her actual gender.