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Kansas Board of Education Passes Resolution Pushing Back Against Transgender Guidelines

Axelboldt/Wikipedia public domain

The Kansas State Board of Education has approved a motion that says federal transgender guidelines for schools remove local control.

The statement doesn’t say schools should defy the rules or ignore the needs of transgender students. Instead, it says Kansas schools have already been accommodating transgender students, and decisions on how to do that should be made by local districts, not the federal government.

Jim McNiece, the board chairman, drafted the statement.

“School districts in the state of Kansas are accommodating the needs of their students and providing a safe environment," McNiece said during a meeting Tuesday. "The federal government really doesn’t need to come to Kansas and help us out."

The federal guidelines say students should be able to use the bathroom and locker room that meets their gender identity. McNiece says policies in Kansas already allow school districts to make those decisions to accommodate students.

The board considered a stronger statement last month that condemned the federal guidelines, but decided instead to wait and address the issue at their meeting this month. McNiece's motion passed with a 10-0 vote.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.