Kinder believes ‘Dear Colleague Letter’ is an ‘unconstitutional abuse of authority’
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder released a letter Tuesday which he is sending to President Barack Obama. The letter asks the President to rescind a recent “Dear Colleague” letter from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to public schools across the nation.
Kinder said the “Dear Colleague” letter attempts to dictate how Missouri public schools must run their facilities and programs to accommodate students who might claim transgender status.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to express my total opposition to the “Dear Colleague” letter of May 13, issued by your appointed leaders at the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, dictating how public schools must run their facilities and programs to accommodate students who claim transgender status.
The letter and its demands are an unconstitutional abuse of authority by your executive branch. It is a blatant attempt to change established law, which is a function reserved for the legislative branch by the Constitution. By threatening local school districts with the loss of federal funding, your administration is seizing local control from public schools while threatening the privacy rights of Missouri students. Further, the demands set forth in the letter directly violate the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, which states that those powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.
The Dear Colleague letter goes against the majority of federal and state court decisions on this issue, as well as the clear text of Title IX and its regulations, all of which allow school districts to address these delicate issues as they see fit, when and if they arise. The letter puts Missouri public schools in the unjust position of having to chose between either doing what they know is best for their particular student population or receiving federal funding. School districts that feel forced to follow the letter’s decree in order to continue to receive funding will undoubtedly open themselves up to huge liabilities and potential lawsuits for violating students’ privacy rights and undermining parental authority rights.
Missouri schools must not be forced to comply with this extraconstitutional decree and the practical implications it would have on their operations and on their students. Please have the “Dear Colleague” letter of May 13 rescinded immediately. Its demands amount to a serious, unconstitutional infringement on the liberties and lives of the people of Missouri.
Peter D. Kinder
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri