- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Dozens of central and western Kansas school superintendents say they have no intention of following U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s advice to disregard a recent transgender bathroom directive from President Barack Obama’s administration.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/28IC26R ) reached out to 129 school superintendents who were given the Republican congressman’s letter and received responses from 30 of them.

Huelskamp said the directive that students should use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity “threatens the privacy and safety of our children” and encouraged districts to “stand up to the Obama administration.” But none of the superintendents who responded said they would disobey the directive.

Many district leaders dismissed debates over transgender students as irrelevant to their rural districts. Others explained the policies and procedures they have established to ensure transgender students are treated fairly.

“Personally, it is troubling to me that our congressman is encouraging public schools to possibly openly violate a federal law,” said Greg Mann, superintendent of the Southeast of Saline district.

Corbin Witt oversees schools in Geary County, where 60 percent of students are connected to the military. With those connections come significant amounts of federal funding, and Witt said that “doing anything to jeopardize that funding would severely affect the education of all of our students.”

Robert Schiltz of St. Francis Community Schools in the state’s northwest corner said he agrees with Huelskamp but will await direction from a local board of education if confronted with the issue.

Ron Traxson, superintendent of the Peabody-Burns district near Wichita, called it “silly” to think Kansas schools haven’t already been handling the situation in a non-confrontational and non-intrusive manner.

“We are responsible for all kids,” Traxson said. “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 should be a lesson with this issue.”


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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