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Parents Urge Trump to Uphold Protections for Transgender Students in Schools

Parents Urge Trump to Uphold Protections for Transgender Students in Schools

Over 780 parents have addressed a letter to President Donald Trump asking that he build on the momentum established by former president Barack Obama in order to protect the rights of transgender students in schools.

Last May, the Obama administration's Departments of Education and Justice released a controversial guidance dictating that all states let transgender students use school facilities according to their preferred gender, not their birth one. For states not in compliance with the guidance, the Department threatened the loss of federal funding.

While many states had already been in the process of passing legislation designed to protect the rights of transgender students, some states were in the process of doing the opposite. North Carolina, for example, had recently passed a bathroom bill that prohibits transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their choice in government-operated buildings (like schools).

The backlash from opposing states was swift; 11 states sued the federal government for overreach immediately after the guidance was released and ten others joined the suit just two months later.

In response, a court issued an injunction against the guidance which the Obama administration appealed. Earlier this month, Trump formerly withdrew the motion that asked the judge to scale back this injunction.

The parents' letter was written due to concerns that Trump's decision to back away from the guidance signifies he will not be taking a firm stance in support of transgender student rights like they had hoped he would.

Policies that prevent transgender students from using preferred facilities "are wrong, they hurt our children, and they violate the principle of equal education," the letter said, according to PBS.

The parents asked President Trump to ensure "all students deserve equal access to a safe, welcoming school and a high quality education no matter who they are, said PBS.

Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, however, might not be inclined to discuss the civil right protections of transgender students until the Supreme Court rules on the matter in late March.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

2/15/2017

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