Hofmeister sets record straight after AG's letter to legislators on Stillwater bathroom issue


Press Release State Seal  

 

 

Carrie Burkhart
Director of Communications
(405) 521-3371, c: (405) 760-7881
carrie.burkhart@sde.ok.gov

Erin Corbin
Communications Specialist
(405) 521-3375
erin.corbin@sde.ok.gov

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Hofmeister sets record straight after AG's letter to legislators on Stillwater bathroom issue

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27, 2022) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the following remarks after Attorney General John O’Connor shared misleading statements in a letter today about her position on transgender individuals’ use of school restrooms. O’Connor’s letter came after 16 legislators asked him for a legal opinion on the subject. Hofmeister made the same request April 23.

“It’s unfortunate and disappointing that the Attorney General has flagrantly misrepresented statements by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. To be clear, neither the department nor I have told Stillwater Public Schools or any other district how they must approach the issue of transgender individuals’ use of restroom facilities.

“My stance has not changed since the Obama Administration’s 2016 overreach on this very issue. The State of Oklahoma has long maintained that the fundamental principle of local control means matters such as this are to be addressed by duly elected school boards. OSDE’s Office of Legal Affairs indicated as much to the Stillwater Board of Education. We also set the record straight in an April 11 letter to the Attorney General after he repeated a mischaracterization of my position made by an extremist organization.

“While no legal precedent on this topic currently exists in Oklahoma, other appellate courts around the nation have largely weighed in with rulings that appear to support the current policy of Stillwater Public Schools. Clarity is important here – and it is wholly appropriate that the Attorney General issue a binding formal opinion when requested to do so by an elected official. Indeed, it is his responsibility to do so.”

Hofmeister’s opinion request can be read here. The OSDE’s April 11 letter to O’Connor is available here.

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Last updated on April 28, 2022