Four days after the White House issued a directive to school districts nationwide affirming transgender students’ rights to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens have broken their silence.

The pair both released statements Tuesday criticizing the directive, with Deal saying it “has generated confusion and controversy” and Olens accusing the White House of addressing a “sensitive and complex issue with a sledghehammer,” but they stopped short of announcing any direct action such as filing a federal lawsuit, which about two dozen Georgia Republican senators have called for them to do.

Deal left it up to local school districts to address, saying, “While our 181 school systems must each determine an appropriate response to this federal overreach, I have asked State School Superintendent Richard Woods to provide guidance to those local school systems seeking assistance and clarity on this issue in order to ensure that there will be as much uniformity across our state as possible.”

Olens called the directive “yet another example of executive overreach” but also said it’s up to parents, teachers and local communities to address it, adding, “As the State’s chief law enforcement officer, I will take steps, when appropriate under the law, to ensure that these decisions are being made at the appropriate level, as demanded by principles of separation of powers and federalism under our Constitution.”

Gov. Deal’s full statement:

“The Obama administration’s directive, recently announced by press release, to local school systems regarding accommodations for transgender students has generated confusion and controversy among parents, students and school officials. While I do not believe this directive carries the force of law, the Departments of Justice and Education have threatened to revoke federal funding from schools that fail to comply. Georgia’s constitution and state laws, however, require these decisions be made at the local level. While our 181 school systems must each determine an appropriate response to this federal overreach, I have asked State School Superintendent Richard Woods to provide guidance to those local school systems seeking assistance and clarity on this issue in order to ensure that there will be as much uniformity across our state as possible. Until Congress acts, I assure the citizens of Georgia that the offices of the governor, attorney general and state school superintendent will work cooperatively to protect the interests of Georgia’s children from this abuse of federal executive authority.”

Olens’ statement:

“I am confident that Georgia’s parents, teachers, and local communities will take every measure necessary to ensure that no child is harassed or intimidated at school for any reason—that is our responsibility as parents and leaders. But the “Guidance” Letter recently issued by the Obama Administration addresses a sensitive and complex issue with a sledgehammer. In yet another example of executive overreach, the Administration is attempting to use executive fiat to push schools toward whatever policy outcomes it desires without any legal or constitutional support, in this case relating to dorm rooms, bathrooms, and locker rooms.”

“Parents, teachers, and local communities have the right to determine the best way to address these issues without the heavy hand of the federal government threatening to take away billions of dollars of funding that schools rely on to educate our children. As the State’s chief law enforcement officer, I will take steps, when appropriate under the law, to ensure that these decisions are being made at the appropriate level, as demanded by principles of separation of powers and federalism under our Constitution.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.