President declares schools must allow transgender bathrooms

Published 8:30 am Saturday, May 14, 2016

From staff reports

AUSTIN, Texas – Citizens, schools, and government officials react to directive issued by Presidents administration concerning what is becoming known as the ‘Restroom Law’.

President Obama’s administration declared today that public schools must permit transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

The White House is saying the guidance should not be viewed as a threat but instead as a set of “specific, tangible, real-world advice and suggestions”.

The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) supports local control on matters of school district policies, however, the organization hopes that districts will take very seriously the admonition from the federal government that certain local policies might run afoul of federal civil rights laws and give rise to liability for the districts.

“Our main goal is to keep students and teachers safe,” ATPE Executive Director Gary Godsey said. “As the state’s largest educator group, we hope that all school districts weighing changes to their policies, including any decisions that might expose them to lawsuits, will consult with their legal counsel.”

“The administration’s new guidelines simply reinforce what has been abundantly clear already—that it has a political goal of forcing women to share restrooms and locker rooms with men across the nation and will spread falsehoods about federal law to achieve its aims. This is precisely why we have filed two federal lawsuits, one in Illinois and one in North Carolina, on behalf of parents and students who are understandably concerned about their children,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said. “Solutions exist to accommodate everyone without violating anyone’s privacy rights, but the administration won’t entertain those solutions because of its preference to unlawfully impose its political will through threats and intimidation.”

In a statement released by Bridge City ISD, Bridge City ISD acknowledges that all individuals have rights. “We will continue to protect the rights of all individuals in our school district through our board policy with reasonable Administrative guidelines. Public schools have to address societal issues as they emerge in our schools with thoughtful consideration for the individual as well as the entire school district. The recent media reports about a letter from President Obama addressing transgender restroom selection has resulted in numerous calls being made to our school district regarding our policy.

Bridge City ISD will continue with the Administrative Guidelines regarding transgender students in the following manner:

Male students will use male restrooms; female students will use female restrooms. When there is a transgender student question Campus Administrators will require the parent or guardian to notify the school in writing that their child is transgender. Provisions will then be made for transgender students to use an identified private restroom on campus as an option so that all students’ rights are observed.” According to the statement posted on the official website.

“Once again, the Obama Administration has overstepped its constitutional bounds to meddle in the affairs of state and local government,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “Today’s announcement seeking to unilaterally redefine and expand federal law must be challenged. If President Obama thinks he can bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms, he better prepare for yet another legal fight.”

“Unfortunately, President Obama has chosen to set aside not only common sense, but also common decency, which violates the privacy and modesty of every child in America.  It is unconscionable to force upon tens of millions of American elementary, middle and high schools students mixed gender bathrooms and changing rooms,” U.S. Rep. Brian Babin said. “It is the epitome of high-handed Washington overreach for the federal government to force local schools to permit a 12 year-old boy – who happens to identify as a girl – to use changing rooms and bathrooms with five year-old girls!  Schools across America should not be threatened if they fail to adopt the Obama Administration’s radical gender-neutral bathroom policies.  This is yet another reason why the bloated and wasteful Department of Education should be dismantled and this dangerous agenda must be stopped.”

The directive came as the Justice Department and North Carolina are battling in federal court over a state law approved in March prohibiting people from using public restrooms not corresponding to their gender assigned at birth, while other states weigh similar measures.

North Carolina’s law was the first to ban people from restrooms in public buildings and schools not matching the sex on their birth certificate. Mississippi has enacted legislation similarly viewed as discriminatory by civil and gay rights groups, and Tennessee and Missouri considered similar measures.

As a condition of receiving Federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations.4 The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity. The Departments’ interpretation is consistent with courts’ and other agencies’ interpretations of Federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Education dated May 13, 2016.

Read the letter in here: colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender