LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (BP) – An Anderson County educator, who is also a Kentucky Baptist pastor, is taking a moral stand on the issue of being told to refer to students by their suggested pronouns and not being allowed to tell the child’s parents if the request was made.
Randy Adams, the principal of Anderson County’s alternative school and the pastor at Ballard Baptist in Lawrenceburg, balked at that school guidance and has been suspended, with pay, by the school system after he wrote a Facebook post letting others know about the guidelines.
Adams has been advised by legal counsel not to answer questions from the media.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Adams explained the issue and how he felt about it. After learning of the guidance, he went through proper channels, reaching out to the central office of Anderson County Schools with his concerns that the guidelines violate freedom of religion and free speech. He asked them to rescind the guidance before sending a mass email to staff. But it was to no avail.
“As a Christian, I cannot call a person a gender other than their biological gender,” he wrote in the post. “This is a sin against God.”
He also said not being able to communicate with parents about what their children were asking from him amounted to lying. Parents have a right to know, he said.
“That violates the parents’ God-given right to decide and weigh in on what is best for their own child,” Adams wrote. “Even parents who would be OK with their child identifying by the opposite gender would not want to be left out of the conversation.”
The Anderson County School District released a statement attempting to clarify the guidance.
The statement reads in part: “Staff are encouraged to discuss gender-specific concerns with the students asking them if they have discussed with their parents, facilitating a conversation with parents if needed.”
Adams’ Facebook post created enough of a stir that a community meeting took place last Tuesday (Sept. 27) at Sand Spring Baptist Church where parents and school staff spoke on both sides of the issue.
Adams attended the meeting but did not speak, per instruction from his attorneys. In his lengthy Facebook post, though, Adams said he believes “in the mission to serve all students regardless of sexual identity, political affiliation, race or religion.
“It is our mission to ensure all students have access to learn how to read, write, solve equations and learn the history of the world,” he wrote. “However, I do not believe that in doing so, staff must forfeit their God-given rights and violate their moral compass.”
Adams had a lot of support from parents in the community meeting. Jerilyn Hanks, a guidance counselor at the school who helped set up the guidelines, spoke at the meeting. The guidelines said it was best practice for them to use students’ preferred pronouns and that staff should not say anything to parents.
She said there are times where they would share with a parent such as in a case of self-harm by the child.
“Otherwise, I am bound as a trusted individual who is trained so your children have a place to come to where they feel safe,” she said in a report by LEX18 television in Lexington.
David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, said Adams was taking a courageous stand.
“It’s amazing what can happen when one person has the courage to stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to allow my rights to be violated,’” Walls said. “One person that speaks up can be an example of courage, and I think that’s what we saw in the meeting in Anderson County. My hope is this gives hope to other parents and courage to any public-school employee who simply wants to teach students and not be put in a position of promoting a gender ideology.”
Michael Johnson, the policy advisor for The Family Foundation, spoke at the meeting against the guidelines and in support of Adams.
Walls said parental rights is one of the top issues that needs to be addressed in the next session of the General Assembly.
“This guidance was put out to provide guidance to every school district in Kentucky,” he said. “Some legislators got aware of it and met with the head of the KDE and they removed some of the resources and updated pronoun guidance. But the new guidance is just as bad.”