Opposed by MCC, ‘transgender toolkit’ approved by state education department

| July 20, 2017 | 19 Comments

A “best practices” guide for schools with transgender students approved by a Minnesota Department of Education advisory council denies reality and detracts from the purpose of education, said Jason Adkins, Minnesota Catholic Conference executive director.

Testifying before the School Safety Technical Assistance Council prior to their July 19 vote to support the document, Adkins said the “Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” “is another example of the ongoing evisceration of the purpose of education, which is to form students to pursue the truth, not merely to instruct or indoctrinate them.”

He said the toolkit asks school faculty, students and parents to deny reality, and is “less about protecting all students than ruthlessly imposing a plastic view of human beings on everyone, and punishing those who don’t conform.”

The toolkit outlines practices for supporting students transitioning from their biological to perceived gender, using students’ preferred names and pronouns, and restroom use and overnight sleeping arrangements.

“The truth is that this toolkit fits neatly into a world of alternative facts, fake news, climate change denial and trigger warnings,” Adkins said. “Science matters only when it serves an ideology. As a result, our public school system and its leaders have contributed greatly to the decline in civil discourse and a denuded public culture, where the loudest, most powerful voices — not the truth — win; this toolkit is just its most recent and radical exaltation of a dictatorship of the subjective self.”

The Minnesota Department of Education described the non-binding toolkit as “a resource to help school districts and charter schools create school environments where transgender and gender nonconforming students are safe, supported and fully included.”

More than 200 people attended he council meeting in the Minnesota Department of Education’s Roseville offices. In an effort organized by the Minnesota Family Council, opponents wore red and carried signs with the hashtag #Stopthetoolkit. Led by OutFront Minnesota and related organizations, toolkit proponents wore purple.

According to the toolkit, transgender students can use the restroom that coincides with their gender identity, and students uncomfortable with sharing a restroom with transgender students may use a private space, such as a single-stall restroom. On school-sponsored trips, transgender students are also allowed to “room with peers who match the student’s gender identity.”

“We all agree that our schools should be places that are welcoming and compassionate towards all people, regardless of personal struggles or the challenges that they bring to the classroom. Every person has inherent dignity and is entitled to respect and kindness,” Adkins said in his testimony. “But to enlist the schools, families and students in a modern version of the tale of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ is to attack the very foundation of education as an enterprise rooted in pursuit of the truth.”

He said the ideology behind the toolkit “is harmful to those children struggling with gender dysphoria.

“Not every subjective feeling should be affirmed by everyone else — especially when it is inconsistent with objective reality.”

MCC is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota.

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