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States Sue Obama Administration, Refuse to Comply With Transgender Accommodation Directive

States Sue Obama Administration, Refuse to Comply With Directive to Accommodate Transgender Students

Eleven states are retaliating against the Obama administration’s directive from earlier this month that they must allow transgender students access to the restrooms and locker rooms they prefer.

"The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, states that the guidance 'has no basis in law’ and could cause 'seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts,’” said The Washington Post.

State officials behind the lawsuit are accusing the Obama administration of over-excerising its power to rewrite federal law, specifically Title IX law that the administration said protects against sexual discrimination in schools that receive federal aid. The administration’s letter threatened to pull funding from schools determined to not be in compliance with the new directive of accommodating transgender students.

The Obama administration’s action was long-anticipated as many wondered if transgender rights were covered in Title IX discrimination laws. Although the administration had previously defended transgender rights on a case-by-case basis, last month’s directive is the first federal mandate of its kind.

While many states have been supportive of the mandate and agreed to comply, it has outraged both politicians and school officials in states that were previously building legislation to prohibit transgendered individuals from using preferred restrooms.

For instance, "David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold school district, said at [a] news conference that he knew of no transgender students in his district. But Thweatt said he felt the policy was important to safeguard students’ privacy and said it should [not] impact federal funding.”

Supporters of the directive and transgendered student rights are calling the lawsuit little more than a “political stunt,” The Washington Post said.

Like many issues in K-12 education, policymakers and legislators are being the most vocal while those who are actually to be impacted by the legislation- students and teachers- have largely been silent.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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