When Regulation 225 hit the Delaware Registrar of Regulations on November 1st, it sparked a firestorm that will get more controversial by the day. The regulation is causing a furor among Republican groups. Legislators are receiving phone calls and emails from constituents who are vehemently opposed to the regulation. What is the controversy?
As I wrote last month, the Anti-Discrimination directive issued by Delaware Governor John Carney would prevent discrimination in schools against students over their choice of gender identity. The Department of Education did their due diligence and convened a committee with public comment in every county. Carney’s directive asked that a Regulation be put forth by November 1st. But the part that has many parents riled up is a perception of parental rights that could be violated.
Regulation 225, in paragraph 7.3.1, states:
A school may request permission from the parent or legal guardian of a minor before a “preferred name” is accepted; provided, however, that prior to requesting the permission from a parent or legal guardian, the school should consult and work closely with the student to assess the degree to which, if any, the parent or legal guardian is aware of the Protected Characteristic and is supportive of the student, and the school shall take into consideration the safety, health and well-being of the student in deciding whether to request permission from the parent or legal guardian.
Similar language exists in paragraph 7.4.1 over whether or not a student chooses to self-identify their race or gender on eSchoolPLUS, the state computer system for public education.
Other issues parents are having with the regulation deal with sports. Some feel as though their daughters should not have to play against more physical males who may identify as a female. Others have expressed this regulation is against the will of God and have religious issues with it.
On the website of Todd Starnes, who is a FOX News contributor, he writes the following about the regulation:
White boys could soon self-identify as black girls in Delaware.
And the proposed regulation should scare the living daylights out of every mom and dad in the state. It clearly states school leaders would not necessarily be required to notify parents if Billy suddenly decides to identify as Sally.
The Delaware Dept. of Education’s decision to ignore the biological realities of our God-given plumbing and reproductive parts has opened up a gender-bending Pandora’s Box.
That being said, I’d like to know how they’re going to handle the gender-fluid, Asian-American football player who suddenly decides during halftime that he’s a Caucasian female?
Starnes quoted Nicole Theis, the President of the Delaware Family Policy Council:
“Literally, if a parent affirms their child’s biological sex, and now race, they are positioned as discriminatory through policies like Regulation 225,” Theis told me. “These policies are setting parents up as a ‘non-ally’ and unsupportive, even abusive, if they affirm their child’s biological realities and work through confusion versus embracing it.”
“This is a 5-alarm alert for parents,” Theis told me. “The effects of the deliberate conditioning of children as early as pre-school into believing they can deny biological facts and realities and identify as whatever gender or race they feel, and to what end?”
“No student should ever be pressured to undress, shower, or share overnight accommodations with individuals of the opposite sex – yet these are exactly the kind of situations Regulation 225 promotes,” she said.
The comments on Starnes’ post are about what you would expect, with an example below and the reply to that comment (edited to accurately spell certain words):
Stephen Quinn: Another step away from God. And we wonder why America is going down the tubes. Read Genesis 17 and find out how it all turns out.
cache: Especially the part where Adam and Eve have two boys, but somehow we have 7.5 billion people on the planet. Do the math on that one for me. Otherwise, keep your quaint fables to yourself.
In my opinion, Starnes takes the political football and runs with it to the end-zone. But the end-zone is in another state and he comes across as absolutely ridiculous.
However, many folks in Delaware feel as though it is not the job for teachers or school administrators to out a student to their parents. And let’s face it, some parents out there may not be happy with their child’s decision. Some feel (including myself) the decision to communicate that information to a parent should be between the child and the parent, not a school. If reaching out to a parent could put that student in a difficult or dangerous situation, it could set up legal ramifications for the school if something happened as a result of that. While I am definitely against many levels of government intrusion when it comes to education, this is not one of them. I am against any and all discrimination, period.
As I’ve written before, many Democrats and Republican were in lock-step over standardized testing a couple of years ago in Delaware. We united on opt-out and successfully persuaded our legislators to pass a bill that would prevent schools or the Department of Education from any punitive action against a student if their parents opted them out of the test. Sadly, former Governor Jack Markell vetoed the bill. But as the issues change, so do the political winds. The further south in Delaware you go, the more problematic a regulation like 225 becomes. And of course the Republican pockets in New Castle County will fight this regulation.
When the Delaware State Board of Education decides on this regulation at their monthly meeting (which given the 30 day public comment period which began November 1st, I anticipate this could come up at their December meeting), I would expect a full house that evening. This article has been updated to reflect that Regulation 225 is a Secretary-only regulation. This means Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting has sole discretion to approve or disapprove this regulation. The State Board of Education does NOT vote on this regulation. And while the Delaware General Election won’t happen for another year, this regulation will not fade away with certain constituents.
I support this regulation. As I stated earlier, I oppose discrimination. Nobody, be they a child, teenager, or adult, should ever have to face ridicule or isolation for what they believe, look like, or choose for their own personal identity. I still believe in God and the message He sent to us. I believe in the spirit of the Bible. I believe Jesus was the Son of God and died for our sins. And if we are going to quote the Bible, I think Matthew 7:1 nails it:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
If parents could get this riled up over issues such as competency-based education and personalized learning, I would be a very happy man. If you want to talk about government intrusion and the selling out of public education to private entities, that is a cause where I would unite with ANY parent!
To read the full proposed Regulation 225, please see below: