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Alabama congressmen unload on Obama’s ‘ridiculous’ transgender school bathroom order

Could gender neutral bathroom signs be rolling out soon in Alabama public schools?
Could gender neutral bathroom signs be rolling out soon in Alabama public schools?

WASHINGTON — Four Alabama congressmen have signed on to a letter demanding President Barack Obama walk back his effort to coerce all public schools around the country to offer gender-neutral bathrooms.

The administration claims the new policy “gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

The decision will affect all of Alabama’s 1,637 public schools that service almost 745,000 children.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. In an effort to compel school districts to comply with the order, the Administration has threatened to withhold federal funds from local schools that ignore their demand.

In response, congressmen Bradley Byrne (R-AL1), Robert Aderholt (R-AL4), Mo Brooks (R-AL5) and Gary Palmer (R-AL6) signed on to a letter to President Obama, which reads as follows:

Dear President Obama:

We are extremely concerned with the recent directive from your Administration threatening legal actions against or denial of congressionally appropriated funds to local school districts that do not allow students to use their bathroom of choice regardless of gender. We ask that you rescind your poorly executed threat to school districts across the country and reaffirm their right to govern themselves as they see fit within the bounds of the law.

To date, neither statute nor legal precedent has extended civil rights protections based on gender identity. Furthermore your actions threaten to infringe on the constitutional right of Congress to appropriate funds. We view this as an effort to implement your Administration’s political agenda outside the bounds of the law and against the will of the American people.

We insist that you withdraw this legally unfounded threat immediately.

Congressman Brooks also took to Facebook to express his concerns.

“(T)he Obama Administration has now determined they know best on public education matters and issued a directive threatening legal action against public schools who refuse to allow students to use whichever bathroom they choose, regardless of gender,” he wrote. “This browbeating of local schools by the Administration is a blatant attempt to push a political agenda and is downright absurd…Folks, let’s let common sense prevail.”

Congressman Martha Roby (R-AL2) called the directive “ridiculous and unworkable.”

“They have lost their minds. This is a great example of an issue in which we need a lot less government and a lot more common sense. These are children. Eighth grade boys don’t need government-guaranteed access to the sixth grade girls’ bathroom, or vice versa,” she said in a statement. “Schools can figure out how to accommodate students’ unique needs on an individual basis without federal bureaucrats’ tortuous redefinition of sex. Moreover, threatening to sue schools or withhold funding if they don’t conform to this backward application of law is an abuse of power that won’t stand. I look forward to hearings that will expose how ridiculous and unworkable such a policy is.”

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL6) encouraged Alabama schools to reject the policy.

“The guidance purports to create an environment that is ‘supportive’ and ‘safe.’ It will do neither,” Palmer said. “In fact, it will create an environment with much more potential for sexual misconduct and harm. No reasonable person could conclude that forcing school children, particularly adolescents, to share bathrooms and showers with individuals of the opposite sex, no matter how they might self-identify, is a smart idea. The safety implications for sexual predation have been well documented, but this administration apparently has no concern about the sexual predators.”

President Obama defended his plan, telling BuzzFeed News it is society’s duty to protect vulnerable students.

“We’re talking about kids, and anybody who’s been in school, been in high school, who’s been a parent, I think should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority — kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender — are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially they are vulnerable,” Obama said. “I think that it is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they’re protected and that their dignity is affirmed.”