Governor Terry Branstad said today that the federal government has no business telling school officials how to make accommodations for transgender students.
“I think it’s really a decision of local schools,” Branstad told reporters during his weekly news conference.
An Iowa law signed in 2007 by former Iowa Governor Chet Culver to address bullying in schools prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. This past week the Obama Administration put all U.S. schools on notice that they must let students use restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity.
“Now you have the federal government stepping in and saying: ‘If you don’t do it our way, we’re going to withhold your federal money.’ I think that’s wrong,” Branstad said. “I mean, we want to treat everybody with respect and dignity, but we don’t think the federal government ought to be coming in and threatening to withhold education money to local school districts in Iowa.”
Branstad is accusing the Obama Administration of “overreach.”
“I think there are bigger and more important issues that the president should be addressing, such as protecting the security of Americans,” Branstad said.
Branstad said he’s troubled by reports indicating ISIS has released “kill lists” with the names of average American civilians. Branstad told reporters today that he gets monthly security briefings on threats that are specific to Iowa, but cannot talk publicly about them.
Last week the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice notified school officials that they should ensure transgender students “enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” The directive came in response to North Carolina’s law that requires individuals to use public restrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate.