Letter to the Cascade School Board
Policy 3281 Advisory Committee:
I am a pastor, father, and resident of our beautiful city—and I am writing to encourage the Cascade school board to repeal policy #3281. It is troublesome that such an aberrant and neo-cultural policy has paralyzed the school board and administration. The formation of a committee to poll the public response demonstrates either a lack of morale fortitude or simple bewilderment on what is right and wrong. The reasons to rescind this policy are voluminous. However, I am concerned that the evaluation process situates logic, science, morality, love, and truth on equal footing with whimsical pop-culture, progressive political agendas, and a general acceptance regarding social experimentation on our children—I pray that I am in error on this understanding. I hope that logic, science, morality, love, and truth will prevail.
I want to begin by acknowledging that I am protesting a policy—not a people. I recognize that all people have tremendous inherent value and worth. All of us, created by God, have amazing special significance, not based on arbitrary cultural, religious, or behavioral metrics but instead, our incalculable value has been expressed in history by God in the giving of His Son to redeem us. This is an incomprehensible love and without rival. I do not pretend that I stand above or beyond anyone—Christ died for me, a sinner, apart from Christ, I have no righteousness and I am certainly superior to no one. It is because I know the love of Christ that I publicly declare a love for all the children in our community—normative and non-conforming. My objection regarding this policy is not an objection against people; rather, my objections to this policy flow from a loving heart for people.
Here is a brief list of justifications for repealing policy #3281:
- Inconsistent Application. The school district does not affirm any other psychological condition the way this policy requires faculty and students to accommodate for gender dysphoria. For example, if some is depressed, you do not have a policy to affirm their depression. If someone has an eating disorder, you do not have a policy which affirms their unhealthy self-perception. If someone has low self-esteem, you do not have a policy to affirm their low self-worth. Not only do you not have policies to affirm any other psychological condition, at this moment, you probably acknowledge that you would not create such a policy to affirm these other conditions. Application of policy 3281 is designed to affirm gender dysphoria while keeping it a secret from parents and requires faculty, coaches, and students to affirm the dysphoria—this is inconsistent.
- Depression and Self-Harm. The prevalence of self-harm and suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24; LGBTQ youth are at least four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.[i] This tragedy transcends policy or behavioral affirmation, consider San Francisco LGBTQ youth have higher rates of depression and self-harm than the national average while boasting the most progressive policies and aggressive affirmation conditions in the nation.[ii]
- Safety. Public policies such policy #3281 are retracting faster than they were implemented due to realized safety issues. For example, transwomen (biological men) committing acts of sexual misconduct while incarcerated, high school trans-girl (biological boy) raping classmates in the bathroom—and inversely, statistics show that nearly half of trans-identified individuals have been sexually assaulted. There is a significant safety concern which policy #3281 does not address. It simply broadens the safety concern—not lessening it.
- Title IX Consideration / Discrimination. It is important for us to recognize that this policy does not provide any additional protections for lesbian, gay, or bi-sexual individuals. They are still protected by federal Title IX guidelines and repealing this policy will not impact that protection. This policy does makes transgender individuals into a protected class—something neither state or federal law has accomplished—meaning this policy is more progressive than current law. The Department of Education did attempt to include transgender under Title IX, resulting in a federal lawsuit and a Federal court order “enjoined and restrained from implementing” such a policy.[iii]
- Parental Rights. There are serious ethical concerns within this policy under the title, “Confidentiality.” This policy prohibits school employees from disclosing transgender status or sexual orientation from the student’s parents/guardians—this presupposes responsibilities and consequences the school is unable to provide like a parent. This also appears to conflict with Idaho Statutes 32-1010, 32-1011.
- Health/Wellbeing of the Student. Prematurely affirming the student in their gender dysphoria or transgender transition causes irrevocable harm. The school’s culpability will be through a blind and indifferent policy which affirms a child to decide an irrevocable lifetime decision. Despite the propaganda, a biological male will never be a woman; a biological woman will never be a man. The process of hormone blockers and replacements will never end for a transitioner; their bodies will continually fight any medical alterations to their body. The scars on outside of their body will represent the harm experienced within their heart and mind. This policy does great harm.
Please categorically reject this policy.
[i] Johns, M. M., Lowry, R., Andrzejewski, J., Barrios, L. C., Zewditu, D., McManus, T., et al. (2019). Transgender identity and experiences of violence victimization, substance use, suicide risk, and sexual risk behaviors among high school student–19 states and large urban school districts, 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(3), 65-71.
Johns, M. M., Lowry, R., Haderxhanaj, L. T., et al. (2020). Trends in violence victimization and suicide risk by sexual identity among high school students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2015–2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69,(Suppl-1):19–27.
[ii] City and County of San Francisco, Department of Pubic Health. Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health Report, December 1, 2021. Mental Health of MCAH Populations in San Francsico, Page 2
[iii] Tenn., et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ., No. 3:21-cv-308 (E.D. Tenn.) (July 15, 2022)