HOUSTON – A new directive to public schools from president Barack Obama, gaining sharp criticism from at least two southeast Texas superintendents, including Barbers Hill ISD's.
A statement from the superintendent in opposition to the directive is clearly displayed on the school website, and several parents support the move, too.
"I feel the same way. I love our superintendent, like that he's bold and says what he thinks. I appreciate it as a parent," Charlotte Button said.
"Shouldn't be an issue, as far guys and girls, use their own bathrooms as far as I'm concerned," Eddie Arguijo, another parent, said.
The president sent a letter Friday morning to public schools, sating they should allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their chosen identity.
A decision not to comply could mean losing federal funding.
"I heard about it, don't like it. Needs to keep his nose out of it," Mike Navar said.
"I don't think that should be pushed on our kids. We gave a girls bathroom and a boys bathroom in school," Amy Betters said.
The Barbers Hill superintendent released a statement late Friday that reads in part:
"It is presumptuous of the federal government to deliver a blanket, politically-charged directive that assumes districts are acting in discriminatory ways.
This attempt by the Obama administration to politicize our public schools is divisive, top-down management, and an attempt to bully school districts with the threat of lost money."
"It is what it is, but you've got to take a stance. Somebody needs to take a stance, might as well start here," Navers said.
Barbers Hill Independent School District Superintendent Greg Poole released a statement on the district website:
"President Barack Obama has orchestrated a demanding letter to be sent to all public schools, including Barbers Hill ISD. The directive informs Barbers Hill to allow students to enter the restroom of their choice. This maneuver on the part of the president is yet another example of political grand-standing that he himself knows has no legal standing. Barbers Hill ISD is exceptionally governed by 7 locally elected Board members, and our direction is fashioned by those elected officials and our taxpayers. We have not, nor will not, be directed or bullied by a president who has a political agenda. Barbers Hill ISD will not be complying with this federal directive."
Port Neches-Grove Superintendent Dr. Rodney Cavness responded to a 12News reporter slamming the Obama administration:
"I got news for President Barack Obama. He ain't my President and he can't tell me what to do. That letter (to be released to all public schools tomorrow) is going straight to the paper shredder. I have 5 daughters myself and I have 2,500 girls in my protection. Their moms and dads expect me to protect them. And that is what I am going to do. Now I don't want them bullied... but there are accommodations that can be made short of this. He (President Obama) is destroying the very fiber of this country. He is not a leader. He is a failure."
The Obama administration's letter from the Departments of Education and Justice came as a result of a heated debate over transgender rights in schools and public life, which includes a legal standoff between the administration and North Carolina over its controversial House Bill 2.
Patrick suggests transgender students should have seperate restrooms pic.twitter.com/xErYqDpTtl— Phil Archer (@KPRC2Phil) May 13, 2016