It's not just about bathrooms
Over the past few days, Trinity Christian Academy has received many questions regarding the recent guidance statement jointly released by the US Departments of Justice and Education. Inquiries have come to us via email, the school website, Facebook messages, phone calls, and personal conversations. Most questions come from parents who worry how this will affect their children’s current school environment, but we have also heard from educators concerned with what is in store for their current school who are now looking for educational environments where they can freely and safely express their Christian beliefs.
Citing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibits discrimination based on sex, this announcement states that education programs receiving federal financial assistance (including public schools and virtually all colleges and universities) may not discriminate against transgender students. This includes allowing students access to all activities and facilities consistent with their “internal sense of gender” regardless of the discomfort, objections, or concerns of other students, parents, or community members. While lacking the full force of law, the message is clear that failure to comply puts such programs at risk of legal action and the potential loss of funds upon which they rely.
As a private Christian school that does not receive federal funding, Trinity Christian Academy is not subject to Title IX requirements. We are free to set policy based upon our biblical understanding of truth, as described in our school's doctrinal statement which states that "gender is immutably bestowed by God upon each person at birth as male or female." School programming where gender plays a role (such as athletics) as well as use of school facilities (including restrooms and locker rooms) will continue to be gender-specific per this belief.
Like many in our community, I am saddened by this and other recent decisions of many of our nation's leaders. At the same time, I believe this is an opportunity for Christian churches and organizations to be shining lights of love and truth to our culture. I see our task as threefold.
We must speak truth, exercising the rights that are ours. Without apology and without unnecessary offense, we must speak truth and advocate for it, portraying models of goodness so as to leave those who do not understand us (or even oppose us) without grounds for accusations.
We must prepare our children to navigate a culture radically different from the one those of us 25 and older knew in our youth. Our world needs young men and women who not only know truth, but are equipped and unafraid to proclaim it clearly in ways that express God's love. It's okay to worry about what might happen in bathrooms, but we should be more concerned about what happens every day in our children’s classrooms.
We must love people, especially those we don't understand (or even like). This isn’t simple or easy. It is the love Jesus showed those who opposed Him. It is both unmerited and unexpected. I'm not sure exactly what it looks like for the church moving forward, but I know that those who expect the worst from us should be surprised by our love.
TCA’s desire is to help our students learn to do each of these well, even in the face of opposition. We commit to continuing to do so in an environment where boundaries are clear and boys and girls are as safe as possible.
Head of School, Trinity Christian Academy