Senator David Sater’s Capitol Report for the Week of May 9: Decision on Transgender School Bathrooms Is Wrong

Sater - Capitol Report Banner - 010913 copy

JEFFERSON CITY — Ridiculous. Absurd. Authoritarian. Abuse of power. These are just a few the words that come to mind when you consider the latest “decree” from the Department of Justice (DOJ). This week, the president and his cronies at the DOJ sent a notice to public schools across the country directing them to provide transgender bathroom access to all students – or face a loss of federal funding and/or lawsuits from the federal government or his surrogates at the ACLU and other liberal interest groups.

This is nothing less than blackmail and another in a long line of unconstitutional abuses of power with the goal of transforming America from the top down into a politically correct nation devoid of the morals and values that made our country the greatest in human history. The president’s sweeping decree also ignores the fact that a large swath of the country disapproves of the job he is doing and an even larger number of Americans disagree with laws or decisions like the one the DOJ issued. Polling shows that Americans believe that transgender individuals should use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth. Target is now embroiled in a nationwide controversy and boycott over their recent policy to allow transgender people to use opposite sex bathrooms. An online petition by the American Family Association has received over 1.2 million signatures so far opposing Target’s decision and protests and demonstrations are taking place at their stores around the country. A corresponding drop in Target’s stock value shows the outrage is widespread and is effecting Target’s business.

This discussion goes beyond just who should and should not use a certain bathroom in our schools. How should schools manage the issue of gender-specific sports teams? Should we open up male or female locker rooms to the opposite gender based on how that individual “feels”? Perhaps most importantly, does this decision open up our children and students to sexual harassment and allow sexual predators where they don’t belong and where they can take advantage of our most vulnerable? Those are serious questions the DOJ are conveniently ignoring while they threaten and blackmail our schools to do something many of them have no interest in doing. The fact is, this decision opens up a can of worms and will lead to more problems, more litigation, and more political division at a time when we can ill afford it.

All of this raises another important question: why is the federal government involved in education at all? Frankly, there is no reason we should even have a United States Department of Education. Education and the supervision and direction of Missouri schools is the sole responsibility of Missouri, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. The growth of federal power and its involvement in and control of nearly every aspect of government is alarming. It has resulted in situations just like this, where unelected bureaucrats in the federal government are telling schools (which rightly should be under the administration of state government along with school boards elected at the local level) what to do when they should butt out and let the people more qualified and actually directed by our state and U.S. constitutions do their jobs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Article 1 Section 1 of the Constitution says Congress is to make all laws, not the president.

This overstep by the president is just another in a series of executive actions and bureaucratic decrees that attack state sovereignty and attempt to centralize more power in Washington, D.C. instead of back home, where it belongs. As for Missouri, I don’t believe we should take this decree sitting down. We should stand up to the Department of Justice, protect our citizens and our schools, and refuse to comply. If the federal government wants to threaten to take away funding, let them. Right is right and wrong is wrong and this action by the president and the DOJ is wrong.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-1480, or by writing to Sen. David Sater, Missouri State Capitol, Room 419, Jefferson City, MO 65101.