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The AACS Legislative Office monitors issues that affect the educational freedom and religious liberty of Christian schools.
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The Washington Flyer
April 22, 2016
 
“Don’t trouble yourself . . . these things are earthly and transitory. There are real and glorious blessings, I trust, in reserve for us, beyond this life. It is best for us to keep our eyes fixed upon the throne of God. . . . It is gratifying to be beloved, and to have our conduct approved by our fellowmen; but this is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is in reservation for us, in the presence of the glorified Redeemer . . . knowing that there awaits us ‘a far more exceeding and external weight of glory.’”
Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
 
AACS Hosts National Competition
Last week, the AACS National Competition was held in Greenville, South Carolina. Approximately 1,800 students from 29 states participated in the AACS National Competition, having captured top honors in their state contests. The students, representing almost 200 Christian high schools, competed in 76 categories in the five divisions of Bible, music, speech, art, and academics. Throughout the week, Pastor Cary Schmidt preached a series of challenging messages. Bob Jones University faculty and staff graciously facilitated the student activities and accommodations. The three-day competition culminated at the Thursday night awards ceremony, which included a showcase highlighting some of the best entries by several individuals and schools. For the thirteenth consecutive year, Virginia (Old Dominion Association of Church Schools) won the AACS Cup of Excellence as a result of accumulating the most points of any state. North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Illinois were also among the top states. The AACS offers our warmest congratulations to all the students who participated and made this year’s National Competition a memorable event. To view the complete list of this year’s winners, click
here. To view pictures of the event, “like” the AACS Legislative Office Facebook page or follow us on Twitter at AACS_DC.
 
Federal Court Sides With Transgender Student in Bathroom Case
On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit Court
ruled that a Virginia public school must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender, regardless of their biological sex. The school had made accommodations for a transgender student to use a single-occupancy restroom, while still protecting the girls’ and boys’ restrooms and locker rooms to be used by only biological girls and boys (respectively). However, one female student who chooses to identify as a boy sued the school claiming the single stall restroom caused “irreparable harm” and “psychological distress.” The student began using the boys’ restroom last year; but after outcry from parents, the school created the new policy to accommodate transgender students while still protecting the privacy of the girls’ and boys’ restrooms. In ruling in favor of the student, the court cited the 1972 Title IX Amendment which prohibits discrimination in educational institutions on the basis of sex, and they referred to a 2015 letter from the Department of Education which suggested gender identity was included in the Title IX definition of sex. The court ruled that the school’s action constituted discrimination. A scathing dissent was submitted by Judge Paul V. Niemeyer in which he said the decision “completely tramples on all universally accepted protections of privacy and safety that are based on the anatomical differences between the sexes.” He continued, “This unprecedented holding overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, which the separation of such facilities is designed to protect.”
 

Pro Life

Missouri House Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions
Last week, a pro-life resolution was
passed through a Missouri House committee creating controversy from supporters of abortion. Joint Resolution 98 would amend the state constitution to grant the right to life to unborn children by recognizing them as human beings at “every stage of biological development.” Exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother were removed from the resolution through the amendment process, leading to the speculation that this resolution could ban abortions altogether within the state. Republican Representative Mike Moon, who spearheaded the effort, said the resolution would lay the groundwork for eventually ending abortion completely in the state. If the resolution were to pass the legislature, which is said to be unlikely in the current political climate, the courts would almost certainly strike down the measure due to the precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Although pro-abortion legislators claim the resolution is extreme and endangers women, Rep. Moon contends that it will “set a foundation in the [state] Constitution that protects the health of women and unborn children.” He further stated, “As a former embryo myself, I want that protection for all embryos, present, and future.”




 

Education 

School Choice Expands in Florida
Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a
school choice bill which allows parents to choose any public school for their child, regardless of the district or county of the family’s residence. Some counties already had a similar program in place, and this bill expands the option to the entire state. Under the new law, any student is eligible to participate providing the selected school has room, the student is not under expulsion or suspension at the current school of attendance, and the parents provide the transportation. While some are worried that the bill does not provide help for failing schools, most are praising the innovative move to help move power to the parents.
 
AACS Youth Legislative Training Conference
The AACS is currently accepting nominations for students interested in attending the
AACS Youth Legislative Training Conference this summer. This week-long conference provides an opportunity for students to experience the political workings in our nation’s capital from a Biblical perspective. Interested students should apply through their state association. For more information, contact the AACS Legislative Director Jamison Coppola (email or call: 202-547-2991).





 

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American Association of Christian Schools
Jamison Coppola: Legislative Director
Maureen Van Den Berg: Policy Analyst

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