US Government Tells Schools to Allow Transgender Access to Bathrooms
On Friday, the Obama administration will send out letters to schools that say to allow transgender students to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds to their gender identity.
The letter was signed by Justice and Education department officials and provides “guidance” on how the schools should make sure no student is discriminated against.
The letter, a copy of which was provided to the New York Times, insists that any discrimination violates the 1972 Title IX law that prohibits discrimination based on sex. However, the government’s new letter “does not have the force of law,” the Times wrote. Instead, it warns that failure to comply will result in lawsuits or loss of federal funding.
“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,” the letter states, according to the Times.
It also states a school must be able “to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns.”
This statement from the government might fall on deaf ears for officials in North Carolina. Governor Pat McCrory refutes that their bill discriminates against transgender people and sued the Justice Department in retaliation.
McCrory and the Justice Department currently have two lawsuits pending against each other.
“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” John B. King Jr., the secretary of the Department of Education, said according to the Times. “We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”
According to USA Today, the letter will be sent to all schools that receive federal funding, “including 16,500 school districts and 7,000 colleges, universities and trade schools.” It also includes other places that receive funding like charter schools, libraries, museums, and for-profit schools.