Which Way, Idaho?
Two elected leaders reacted very differently to a controversy
Less than a week after flatly declaring that taxpayer money should never leave the public education system, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Debbie Critchfield sent a letter to legislators explaining that while neither the state nor the federal government technically require school districts to adopt woke policies, the threat of litigation from the federal government means they probably should.
“It is accurate to say that the federal government does not require districts or charters to adopt such policies,” Critchfield wrote. “However, schools can be subject to intense federal scrutiny and potential legal risk if they don’t adopt such policies… Based on this reality, local education leaders can find themselves in a no-win situation. They may adopt policies that some patrons find objectionable or risk an onerous federal investigation and legal action.”
In other words: It’s a nice school district you have here. It would be a shame if somebody destroyed it with onerous litigation.
Critchfield’s letter comes in the wake of Senator Chris Trakel’s testimony before the Caldwell School Board in which he castigated the trustees for putting children’s safety at risk with their proposed transgender bathroom and locker room policy. Video of the testimony went viral, and Trakel appeared on Fox & Friends to share his story with a national audience.
The citizens of Idaho elect leaders to boldly stand up for their rights and freedoms, not to quail in the face of government pressure. The federal government uses threats of costly lawsuits and investigations to do what the Constitution does not allow - namely, to micromanage public schools and impose radical policies based on heretofore unknown ideas about gender and sexuality.
Rather than encouraging legislators to bury their heads in the sand, our State Superintendent should be standing up to these bully tactics. Families and students of Idaho expect the top educator to stand up for them, not for the federal bureaucracy or special interests.
Senator Cindy Carlson shared a letter she wrote in response to Critchfield’s statement, saying “While fear of an overreaching federal government may motivate school districts to accept these policies, protection of children should be our primary concern. Our constituents deserve courage from you and me in defense of their children.”
It is precisely this lack of courage in our public education establishment that is driving families away from public schools. Parents rightly see that schools will sacrifice their children on the altar of political correctness, so they are going somewhere they can trust. Critchfield is telling these families that they are on their own, while cautioning legislators against taking a stand to protect them.
Compare Critchfield’s position to that of Attorney General Raúl Labrador. In a tweet Monday, Labrador suggested that Caldwell’s proposed transgender policy could be in violation of Idaho state law, and that he would look into it:
Labrador did not hedge in his statement, nor did he appear worried about possible federal litigation. He really is the stalwart warrior for liberty that Idaho families need, standing up for students and the rule of law even when the federal bureaucracy and legacy media do their best to make such a stand uncomfortable.
The radical left has been slipping their deviant ideas into the public sphere for years, and they are now so confident of their cultural dominance that they are pushing graphic sexual fetishes on middle school students and hosting obscene drag shows for children. They dare us to stop them. Caldwell is only the latest school district to consider policies that allow students to identity as another gender and then use those bathrooms and locker rooms - the Idaho Tribune reports that at least twenty-seven other districts already have these policies.
The question is, then, which way shall we go as a state, as a community? Will we follow Debbie Critchfield’s lead in cowering before woke bullies? Or will we stand strong with Raúl Labrador, knowing that what we are doing is right?
I know where I stand, and I hope you will stand with me.