The Kansas State Board of Education declined to vote Tuesday on a motion condemning new federal guidelines concerning transgender students. The federal rules say transgender students must be allowed to use a bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Board member Ken Willard called the policies “federal overreach.” He made a motion he said opposes all forms of federal regulation on schools, but he specifically mentioned the transgender guidelines.
“It means that no longer will principals and teachers be able to adequately guard and protect the safety and privacy of their students in their bathrooms, locker rooms or dorm rooms. And it means that failure to capitulate to this directive will result in the loss of federal funding,” says Willard.
The motion would have asked lawmakers and the governor to take action to fight the new rules. Several other members of the board said they needed more time to consider the issue and wanted to review existing school policies that affect transgender students.
Board member Deena Horst was concerned that approving the resolution would send the message that they agree with a so-called bathroom bill considered by Kansas lawmakers this year. Horst says that bill lets the state take local control away from school districts.
The board voted 6-4 to put the issue on hold. They’ll consider the topic again next month.