Connecting the educational world to your classroom

Transgender Bathroom Controversy Reaches Schools


Transgender Bathroom Controversy Reaches Schools

The debate over transgender bathrooms has reached the public school sector.

In May, the Obama administration issued a letter to public school districts regarding civil rights protection for transgender students. The joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice states that, “A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity. A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.”
While the letter does not have the force of law, violating its parameters could result in lawsuits or the loss of Federal funding.

The letter frequently refers to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits sexual discrimination in educational programs and activities.

Soon after the letter was issued in May, 11 states filed a lawsuit, claiming that the directive is unlawful. The lawsuit reads, the Obama administration has “conspired to turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over common sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

The lawsuit was joined in early July by 10 additional states, who claim that the Departments of Education and Justice overstepped their boundaries in issuing the directive.