The Constitutions of the United States and the State of Minnesota establish that the executive branch of government cannot make law. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Education, including its Office of Civil Rights, which is part of the Executive Branch, cannot make law. While the Department of Education can issue guidelines, those guidelines do not have the force of law.

According to Attorneys Derrick R. Good and J. Mathew Sharp, all the court cases to date have ruled that school districts have the authority to limit use of sex-specific restrooms to members of the specified sex.

Residents in the New London-Spicer School District are opposed to allowing students access to opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms. Letters to the Editor, the West Central Tribune poll, and conversations in the community indicate this.

Furthermore, as Attorneys Derrick R. Good and J. Mathew Sharp have informed us, the school district has no legal obligation to allow students access to opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms.

The Gender Inclusion Policy being considered by the school board addresses many complex and controversial issues such as bathroom/locker room policies, student name and pronoun changes, gender diversity curriculum, requiring personnel to “support” lifestyle choices with which they might disagree, and unfamiliar definitions of unfamiliar terms; not to mention the possibility of severe restrictions of religious liberty and the privacy rights of the majority.

Because the community has not had adequate time to learn about these issues, as well as the possibility of unintended consequences, and also because there is no legal deadline which must be met to have a transgender policy, the best course of action would be for the school board to postpone voting on any transgender policy until the community has had sufficient time to learn more about the issues and provide feedback.

Then the school district to arrive at a policy which will be acceptable to all in the community.

Partnering with the community, including parents and students, to draft a policy that will reflect community perspectives would be a good place to start.

Gary Swenson


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