Saturday, May 14, 2016

An Open Letter To Superintendent Kent Scribner and the Forth Worth School Board

As a public school teacher of 15 years and a Fort Worth resident, I am deeply concerned over certain aspects of the transgender student policies you released last week. First, I would like to say that I support you in providing private restrooms and changing areas for students undergoing gender identity crisis and I am grateful for your efforts to treat them with dignity and respect. Likewise, I share in the concerns that have been voiced over bullying and potential suicide among students in the fastest growing acronymn in the country, the  LGBTQIA sect. I agree that something must be done about this. You have, however, made some serious mistakes that need to be addressed.

CONCERN #1: STUDENT SAFETY
Bathrooms and Locker Rooms are the 2 places in a school where students are most vulnerable. No one in their right mind believes that allowing a typical adolescent boy into a room full of girls using the bathroom or into a locker room while they are disrobing is even remotely moral, safe or a good idea. How much more dangerous is it then, to allow a sexually confused adolescent male into such areas while he is in the midst of an intense gender identity crisis? Correspondingly, allowing a female student to enter a boys changing area or bathroom is the single most dangerous situation you could possibly put her in. Your ill-advised mandate to allow students to use whichever facilities they prefer, based on personal choice or feelings, rather than according to biological sex is the most foolish, dangerous and irresponsible decision I have ever seen from an administration or school board. For the safety and well-being of all of your students, I encourage you to take responsibility for your mistake and reverse this decision immediately.

CONCERN #2: HONESTY
One of the core values of my band program is Candor. I teach my students to be honest. Schools cannot function without honesty. Yet, you are enabling and even encouraging students to engage in deceptive behavior and to hide their true identity from themself and others. This is harmful from both a sacred and a secular perspective. 

Deuteronomy 22:5 says that "A woman shall not wear men's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing, for anyone who does this is detestable to the Lord your God." God hates lies and deception and we should teach children not to deceive each other. 1 Thessalonians 4:6 tells us that it is God's will and his heart that no one wrong or take advantage of anyone in a sexual way. In the original Greek language, these words show us that God never wants anyone to be deceived, tricked, manipulated, coerced, forced, pressured, taken advantage of, defrauded or encroached upon in any way when it comes to sexuality.  The reason such behavior is detestable to God is the deception, usury and disregard for other people. That does not mean that He does not love and care about students going through gender identity crisis, He does. God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and overflowing with love and kindness. As grown-ups, we should have the same attitude. We have the responsibility to help and rescue them, not encourage them to continue in their confusion and exacerbate the situation, which is what you are doing. 

If you do not wish to acknowledge the Bible's authority, perhaps you will recognize the scholarly opinion of distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Paul McHugh, who has stated that the idea that a person's sexuality is fluid is doing much harm to young people and that the idea that one's gender is a matter of choice and not biological fact is particularly damaging to adolescents. He groups "Gender Dysporia," with such serious conditions as Anorexia Nervosa and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. The person students are lying to when they choose to believe they are a different sex is first and foremost themselves. Responsible educators must help students to be honest with themselves and honest with their peers.

CONCERN #3: PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
It disturbs me that you have instructed teachers to withhold information from parents about their own children. Parents have a right to know what is going on with their kids and teachers have a responsibility to communicate with parents when something is wrong with their children. Your instructions to teachers to withold such information from parents and others puts them in a situation to where they could potentially be breaking the law by failing to perform their duties as mandated reporters in keeping a student's privacy. Even in situations where there is not yet abuse to report, you are still asking a teacher to leave a student in a state of crisis and refuse to help. You have placed politics above the needs and best interests of the students in this matter. Teachers are among the most likely individuals to notice if a child is going through gender identity crisis and can help by communicating with parents and counselors. Open and honest communication is a benefit to students, especially those in crisis. 

SO WHAT COMES NEXT?
Your misguided decisions have placed all students in physical, emotional and psychological peril. As school officials, we must all become more proactive in reaching out to help confused adolescents. Providing safe, private access to bathrooms and changing facilities is an appropriate step that we agree on. According to the guidelines set forth by the Texas Association of School Boards, the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education, it is illegal to promote a non-religious viewpoint over a religious one in our nation's public schools. Schools must remain neutral. It is your responsibility to provide students with access and options to choose from to receive counseling and help from either a secular or a religious counselor. This is a step that needs to be taken for the well-being of students in crisis and you would be wise to consult with Pastors and Christian Counselors in your community who have more experience, expertise and wisdom in dealing with these matters than secular practitioners. To deny these students the opportunity of healing, redemption and hope available to them through Jesus by applauding, encouraging and enabling them to continue deeper into delusion is not only professionally irresposible because it disregards the child's health and well-being, but it is also illegal because it clearly favors a specific non-religious viewpoint over a religious one. Considering the current situation, protecting male and female students in vulnerable situations is more important than ever before. Safety must continue to be a priority and that includes keeping boys and girls locker rooms and bathrooms separate. To be clear, I am referring to separate bathrooms and locker rooms as determined by a student's biological sex, which is the only type of sexual identity that exists according to Science and the Bible. 

These common sense steps should be acceptable to any reasonable and rational person. If you disagree, it is because you have been deceived. From a secular point of view, it is obvious to the majority of people that your recent decisions defy all logic and reason. From a religious viewpoint, you have chosen to believe a lie over God's truth, as described in Romans 1:18-31. You have chosen to ascribe more worth to Satan than to God by believing his Lie over God's Truth and you have been given over to a confused mind. But God is gracious, forgiving and eager to restore you. If you will repent, you can be returned to your senses, capable of making wise and moral decisions and you will see the right way to deal with this situation has been set before you. 

Here is a link to in-depth Biblical Teaching on this subject: 
http://thetrustworthyword.blogspot.com/2016/04/identity-crisis-created-in-image-of-god.html

UPDATE:
Since originally writing this letter as a concerned citizen and teacher, the problem has been magnified exponentially by the President's threatening and intrusive response to all schools, which has created a national crisis in student safety. The New York Times has released part of the official statement from the President and the U.S. Department of Education which forbids even requiring transgender students to use private facilities. They are demanding that such students be allowed to use the same locker rooms and bathrooms as other students who are of a biologically different sex.  In forcing public school children from age 5 to 17 to use bathrooms with members of the opposite sex, the President, the Secretary of Education and the U.S. Department of Education are knowingly endangering minors and bullying public schools with threats to force compliance with their sinful and harmful decisions. 

Update 10-29-2016: The Supreme Court is going to be hearing a case in which a female student, who the students grew up knowing as a girl, is suing for the right to use the boy's bathroom at school.


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