This week we spent most of our time on the House floor passing budget bill agreements that were reached with the Senate. We have passed the Agriculture, Education, Environment, Health and Human Services, State Government Finance, Transportation and Tax budget bills. Some of these have received their final passage in the Senate, and were sent to Governor Dayton for his signature.
Today Dayton vetoed the five budget bills he has been sent thus far, and says he intends to veto all of the budget bills we have agreed on in the last few weeks, even though he made little effort to participate in negotiations. It seems that Governor Dayton would rather force a special session instead of actually working across the aisle with Republicans to pass a budget. I will keep you updated regarding this situation as we finish the last week of session.
Recently, it came to my attention that the Minnesota Department of Education and the School Safety and Technical Assistance Center is planning to release and distribute a state directive to all Minnesota schools to allow boys and girls to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers according to their perceived gender identity. This directive, called the Toolkit to Ensure Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, even states that when it comes to overnight field trips or athletic events "schools must give transgender or gender nonconforming students access to housing consistent with their gender identity…allowing transgender or gender nonconforming students to room with peers that match the student's gender identity".
Folks, this has the potential to be very dangerous and harmful to our students!
Here is a link to this disturbing "resource" being recommended for K-12 Minnesota schools: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/goppdf/4752f062-dc27-4a69-9b85-fa53940a5a0a.pdf
This resource for schools is a continuation of Obama's transgender directive to public schools. President Trump rescinded this lawless directive in February, but Governor Dayton has chosen to continue these initiatives through the Minnesota's Department of Education.
Not only is this is a blatant disregard for the privacy rights and dignity of students; it is also an unprecedented waste of taxpayer resources. Many parents have expressed significant opposition to their children being exposed to what some experts say are harmful and unscientific ideas about gender identity and gender fluidity. These discussions should be left up to parents.
This MDE directive is outrageous and we must do all we can to stop our schools from pushing this harmful and confusing agenda on our impressionable children. Our schools should focus on instructing students in reading, writing, science, and math, not pushing dangerous progressive social agendas. In response, I and 45 other State Representatives along with 21 State Senators have written a letter to Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellious to express our strong opposition to their planned distribution of their "Toolkit" resource for dealing with gender identity issues in schools.
You can make your thoughts known by contacting the Minnesota Department of Education and expressing your opposition to the "Toolkit" resource. The public comment period will end very shortly, and we must make our voices heard.
Comments may be emailed to: Wethington, Craig (MDE) email@example.com.
(Mr. Wethington is Director of the School Safety and Technical Assistance Center)
Minnesota Department of Education phone number is: 651-582-8200
Commissioner Casselius: firstname.lastname@example.org