Obama’s actions on transgender bathrooms: Not leading but bullying

President Obama, shown here in a 2013 visit to Atlanta, is facing resistance to his administration’s stand on transgender students and school bathrooms. (AJC/Hyosub Shin)

Here is an essay by former Pelham City, Ga., Superintendent Jim Arnold about the federal advisory on transgender students and school bathrooms.

(See what the Gwinnett school board had to say on the issue tonight.)

By  Jim Arnold

President Obama has met the law of unintended consequences. The presidential decree prohibiting public schools from discriminating against those students that self-identify as transgender by forcing them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological gender creates a political firestorm around what was essentially a non-issue for schools.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. “This guidance 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 U.S. Departments of Education and Justice created a tag-team to body slam schools that might resist their social engineering efforts by threatening to withhold federal funds. DOJ and Education Department officials emphasized their interpretation of Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law in education, is that schools receiving federal funds may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.

I don’t think most people are concerned with the possibility of criminal behavior from the kids suffering from gender confusion. Most people are concerned with perverts that would take advantage of such a situation by intruding themselves into what has been one of mankind’s most private and gender specific moments. We all go to the bathroom, but are reluctant to talk about it or share our experiences with anyone but Mom or a doctor.

To have the president make such a declaration on behalf of the 0.2 or 0.3 percent of the population seems sort of like killing ants with B-2 bombers. You can do it, but it’s probably not the best use of the resources at your disposal.

So just how much money does Georgia get for educational purposes from the federal government, and how would schools be affected if Georgia education leaders told the president he wasn’t about to dictate who could pee where?

In 2012, Georgia received somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion from the federal government, primarily in funds from the USDOE for students with disabilities, money to assist low-income students and schools and districts, school nutrition and a few other services. In 2015 the amount was around $1.7 billion.

Those dollars have increased in relative importance for school districts over the last 15 years as state funding per student has fallen. In 2002 there were about 1.46 million students in Georgia public schools. In 2016 that number rose to over 1.75 million students. Georgia spent $15,000 per student (FTE) in 2001, but that amount has dropped to just under $8,000 per student for FY 2017. We won’t argue about the reasons for that reduction here; just remember that Gov. Nathan Deal likes austerity cuts so much he calls a reduction in those cuts “an increase in educational funding.”

Suppose that Georgia political leaders make a stand on the bathroom and the federal slice of Georgia’s educational pie gets taken away. Don’t think for a minute anybody anywhere in Georgia can expect Georgia politicians to close the Go Fish Georgia Educational Center to help make up for the loss of federal dollars or that local funds can come anywhere near making up the deficit. That means three things for every Georgia school district.

First, school breakfast and lunch programs will either close or become dependent on local or state money. In many poor areas, school breakfast and school lunch are just about the only meals a lot of kids can count on. How many of these schools continue the breakfast and lunch programs during the summer for those very reasons? A bunch.

Second, consider all the services for students with disabilities paid for with federal dollars. Most public schools in the United States indicate their students with disabilities populations at or near 13 percent of the total student population; that adds up to 227,370 Georgia kids with learning disabilities of varying types. What will happen when the money disappears? Once again, the money will have to come from local and state funds.

The third loss will come in the form of federal Title I funds. Title I funds are distributed through the GADOE “to local educational agencies and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.” These funds provide teachers, equipment and materials to low-income students, and are in addition to any funds provided by the state to help students in poverty. They also provide remedial services and after school programs in many schools.

These are the very funds the president, secretary of education and attorney general say they will cut in the name of transgender bathroom equality. The president says we need a new bathroom policy because somebody might not get to pee where they really want to, and, to enforce it, he will use the power of the federal government to take away funds that provide meals for poor kids, teachers and equipment and programs for students in poverty and money that is used to help educate students with disabilities.

To threaten to take away federal funds for the neediest of students over an issue that can best be solved at a local level is not leadership, but bullying at its basest level.  It would also be, if enforced as promised, child abuse on a national scale.

 

Reader Comments 0

44 comments
Jonathan Danzinger
Jonathan Danzinger

 This is not just about bathrooms....it includes any spaces of the opposite sex...locker rooms, showers, womens shelters, crisis centers, etc. Would you feel comfortable going into the womens locker room or shower and turning to find a 6' 300 lb man with a beard and full genitalia standing next to you ? The definition of a trans individual by activists is "all you have to do is "feel" like the opposite sex...no hormones, no surgery, and no attire required.

msdmannda
msdmannda

@ajc It's ridiculous & low to call this guidance bullying. He's working to protect children who face discrimination & rejection.

Another comment
Another comment

I believe that we will all soon find out that The guest author' stats are very low ( .2 or .3 ) of the population. I remember a day back in the late 70's when only my best friend of 38 years was the only male to be out as a gay male in design school. Within ten years at least 20% of those males who started design school with me were out ( yes, the design and creative fields have higher rates in general).

Let me give you some examples, of Transgender people I personally know of other than Bruce/ Caitlin Jenner. Example : 1 .) My cousin's first cousin Male ( mid 60's ) is now a Female ( that as she says looks just like her now. 2.) My step cousin from the other side of the family, her husband ( now ex husband ) late 50's , who is also the father of their two children and Grandchildren, is now a women. 3.) the child that stood up for my child in the 4 th grade, when my child was being bullied for being the new kid in school. The only kid that my child has felt has been her best friend is currently transition from female to a more gender neutral persona. My child would attend one of the major mega churches and Sunday School with this family. Luckily, for this child the father has an undergraduate psychology degree and his education and their parental compassion is out weighing narrow minded bigotry.

Open your eyes folks, and open your hearts!

class80olddog
class80olddog

Let's be clear here. Title IX bans discrimination based on SEX. Sex is what is between your legs. Your doctor doesn't tell you "you will have to wait until your baby grows up to see what sex they are". Obama has decided that "sex" includes "gender identity". Gender identity is in the mind (and some say in the brain). That is where Obama commits overreach. It will be decided at the Supreme Court. Like a lot of decisions, Obama knows he could never get it through Congress, so this is the only way to achieve his liberal objectives

Astropig
Astropig

@class80olddog


Agree completely.This administration just ignores any part of the federal code that it deems inconvenient or politically inexpedient. Thankfully, this regime will be gone in about 6 months.

redweather
redweather

@class80olddog Webster's II New College Dictionary, 3rd edition (2005), defines gender in a number of ways, one of them being: "sexual identity, esp. in relation to society or culture."

So it's not as if Obama has just dreamed this up. 

iwd
iwd

It is called leadership. Congress has blocked him at every turn. Finally, Obama is making principled decisions, the type he was elected to do. And they need to be high-profile ones that contrast with the hate-filled diatribes of those on the right. Thank you president Obama.

class80olddog
class80olddog

He is making decisions that should be made by Congress.

Starik
Starik

@class80olddog Congress hasn't done anything useful for a long while. They just collect their salaries and raise money for re-election.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

In 2012, Georgia received somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion from the federal government, primarily in funds from the USDOE for students with disabilities, money to assist low-income students and schools and districts, school nutrition and a few other services. In 2015 the amount was around $1.7 billion.

BOOM!

A exceptionally small group of individuals (trans-genders) want us to place their idiosyncrasies above the TRUE needs of others not so inclined.

Selfish is as selfish does.

We've gone from identity politics to self-identity politics.

We're now on a roll...

...of toilet paper.

Shake it or wipe it?

I say shake it! 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

So a woman's "right to privacy" is a sacrosanct "right" in the constitution....unless it comes to using a public bathroom, or showering at a public school after PE.


Then their rights are justifiably abolished, in favor of someone who is Trans.   And we MUST allow men to be able to trample on their right to privacy.  


Yeah...that makes sense.  Seriously?  Complete insanity.  

redweather
redweather

@dcdcdc From what I know, a women's bathroom consists of private stalls. How much more private can you get? Do you want them to have their very own little room?

class80olddog
class80olddog

Stall walls don't keep a pervert from taking a video or picture over/ under the wall

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

While I have generally agreed with Mr. Arnold in the past, I find his use of "gender confusion" demeaning.  For those who are transgender, it makes it seem like all we have to do is explain it to them so they are no longer "confused." I doubt that will work.


The problem in our schools is that there is no place or very very limited places where a student can relieve themselves alone. It isn't just transgender students who might need this--many of us have a "shy bladder" or, for one reason or another, a continually upset stomach and need to be separate in order to do our business.  It isn't just transgender students who need more privacy.


Being in the school provides another stressor catalyst--the school needs to be able to move students quickly through the bath rooming process.  There is simply no room for everyone who needs to go to get in and out in the time allotted.


I hope some degree of sanity returns to the discussion from both the federal, state, and local arenas, acknowledging the needs and problems on both ends (so to speak.)

Starik
Starik

@Wascatlady Sanity has departed this year in lots of areas. The problem varies by area.  In DeKalb you have to worry about being robbed or stabbed.

redweather
redweather

The President was anticipating that red states like Georgia and the GOP in general would do all they can, as they have with abortion and voting rights, to undermine the law. 

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather


It's not a law. Educate yourself. Its an Act (Title IX) that he's citing here.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Astropig


You seem to hand out "F's" and fails to people that you disagree with.Why don't YOU try being right once in a while?

redweather
redweather

@Astropig @redweather For someone who is on record as not caring what I think, you sure do respond to my posts. What would you do if you did care what I think, send me candy and flowers?

Astropig
Astropig

Easy for Obama to bring the pain to state and local school districts: His kids attend an elite private school in D.C.that can do whatever they want.They don't have the same lunch that public school kids get,they don't follow the same testing regime,they don't ever have to worry about having enough copy and toilet paper to get through the week.



Starik
Starik

@Astropig If you check it out, that's also true for a majority of liberals who are behind these policies or supporting them... see where their kids go to school.

Bitly
Bitly

I blame this on Hillary Clinton's unpopularity. Recent polls have her losing by 3-5 points to Donald Trump. And Bernie Sanders shows no signs of capitulating to a rigged delegate system.

Obama therefore finds himself under pressure to stir his party's radical base, and to enlist the help of the liberal media in doing so.

Which brings us to today's topic.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Bitly


That's it Red! Call them schoolyard names! That will win the argument for your side every time!

thialand
thialand

Thousands of years of consensus accommodation thrown out by an arguably despotic administration proclaiming a solution in search of a problem.  Add a well organized group with little respect for cultural norms and it is no wonder the backlash was quick and over-the-top. It should never surprise taxpayers the power a gov't will assume at the point of a gun (not hyperbole.  If you're not one of the 49% who pay no income taxes, try not paying them and see who shows up at your front door.)


Just as the current administration can threaten school districts with withholding funds if the districts don't bow to the administrations new found wisdom, future presidents will be emboldened by this administration.  With a pen and a phone, and the oppressive weight of compliant Justice and Education departments, the current administration has turned its branch into a despotic regime.  


All those applauding the move to allow men and women to enter any bathroom they wish on their identity de jour will not be applauding when a future administration wields the same pen that forces schools and business to NOT allow entry who think they're a woman today and a man tomorrow.  


And comparing this issue to the 60's civil rights struggle is laughable and made by those with small minds.  It's a state issue not a federal issue.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@thialand

It is both a state issue and a federal issue.  That is why I mentioned the positions of both George Washington, who favored federal rights over states rights, and Thomas Jefferson, who was a proponent of strong states' rights, but who also stated, "We are all federalists and we are all republicans." 


Surely, if those two enlightened Founding Fathers can acknowledge the complexity of the interaction between federal and state governments and work together to sustain our exceptional Union, we can be as enlightened today for the benefit of all of America's citizens. Human rights for all Americans are guaranteed in our U. S. Constitution, which remarkably still stands valid today, well over two hundred years after it was created.

Astropig
Astropig

@thialand


"All those applauding the move to allow men and women to enter any bathroom they wish on their identity de jour will not be applauding when a future administration wields the same pen that forces schools and business to NOT allow entry who think they're a woman today and a man tomorrow.  "


Just arbitrarily issuing edicts,orders and threats to withhold funding is a weapon that will soon be in the hands of political opposites.Its part of the reason that we are so polarized as a nation right now.Both sides of the political spectrum feel that they have to "get even" with whatever regime just left office.

thialand
thialand

@MaryElizabethSings @thialand  There is no such guarantee of "human rights" in the U.S. Constitution.  I assume you refer the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, that protects certain rights, or, the Declaration of Independence that acknowledges three "unalienable" rights...those rights that are inherent to all.  There is no mention in the U.S. Constitution of sex, gender identity or anything remotely associated with "a right" to enter a bathroom. As for being a federal and state issue, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution renders  that argument moot.


The statement that "...our U.S. Constitution, which remarkably still stands valid today..." is 180 degrees from your position that a person can enter the bathroom of his/her choice on each day based upon her/his identity for that day.  Such a document cannot possibly stand if the whim of one branch of the federal government may read anything it wants to into the document, then  decree laws and regulations that threaten federal funds that are granted to the states by Congress and not the President.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@thialand @MaryElizabethSings


"I assume you refer the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, that protects certain rights, or, the Declaration of Independence that acknowledges three 'unalienable' rights...those rights that are inherent to all."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++


You assume correctly.

rmitch788
rmitch788

Please read the following quote from the Wall Street Journal,May 13, 2016 and June 12, 2014 by Dr. Paul McHugh, Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins: 


The transgendered suffer a disorder of "assumption" like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists. With the transgendered, the disordered assumption is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature—namely one's maleness or femaleness. Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@rmitch788


Every person is unique.  Labeling generically can sometimes damage individuals.


At one time, in the field of psychiatry, homosexuals were labeled as mentally disturbed, across the board.  Fortunately, those with intellectual curiosity continue to seek answers that break through present consciousness.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

President Obama has made the right call.  When I was an adolescent in the 1950s, the federal government had to intervene to correct another human rights' injustice in the South at that time - segregation by race of schools, and the Jim Crow South, in general.


George Washington was a Federalist who stated that the federal government would help to overcome the provincial prejudices of the population.  Thomas Jefferson was a Republican who believed that all are created equal.  Jefferson, also, wrote in his first inaugural address, "We are all federalists and we are all republicans."  Profound words from Washington, the visionary and healer, and from Jefferson, the healer and visionary.


Here are my visionary thoughts regarding why the transgender angst is unnecessary and of our own making, based on our presently limited perceptions of gender and sexuality just as previously we experienced limited, provincial perceptions related to race.  I hope my word lift consciousness, rather than create anger.


As I recall, about 10 to 15 years ago in Atlanta a surgeon was performing a circumcision on a newborn boy. He butchered the surgery, or the surgical equipment was faulty. Bottom line: the boy was turned into a baby girl by creating a female sexual organ for the baby boy, turned baby girl. This is a true story, reported on WSB-TV, at that time.

As I recall that newly created girl never really felt like a girl in the years that followed. If people were either wiser, or more informed about biological phenomena, they could understand how one's gender identification does not simply depend upon the two obvious sexual organs.  Brain chemistry and DNA are also involved in gender identification that probably begins in utero. We must start to understand sexual phenomena beyond the very literal, mundane, and patently obvious.


As an evolved society, we should be more compassionate and less judgmental regarding variations of differences in gender identification and sexual orientation. Nature is nature beyond judgment, and every person is unique not only in sexuality but in every other way that contributes to our common humanity.


Finally, on public radio today, I heard of these words said by a transgender child to that child's mother, "This (bathroom transgender decision) is life changing to me.  Mother, I can now attend a public school."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Wascatlady @MaryElizabethSings


I remember, Wascatlady. In the second case to which you refer, the baby boy was able to retain part of his male organ, though damaged, and thus was assigned permanently to be labeled "male."  Both incidents were tragic.  

justinlev7
justinlev7

@ajc Or Georgia schools could choose not to "take a stand" and keep their federal funding. Easy. Might unfollow you now.

psychobroad
psychobroad

What's with Republicans and bathrooms? The law is already in place, title VII and IX (I believe, not positive), all Mr. Obama is saying is that you have to obey current law, or face the possibility of losing Federal funding. And really, as Stephen Colbert said, if you're worried about the plumbing of the person in the next stall YOU'RE the pervert!

thialand
thialand

@psychobroad What's with  Democrats and bathrooms?  There is no law in place, title <sic> VII and IX included, that addresses gender identity.  Title IX addresses, among other things, "sex", not what one identifies as on any given day.  As for Stephen Colbert, he is a TV show host and comedian. Sycophants are drawn to such people.