U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on Sunday issued a ruling that halts Obama’s plan to allow transgender students to use school bathrooms based on gender identity.
The request to block the directive was made by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia are the other states involved in the lawsuit.
In the Texas case, the judge said his ruling was based on the administration failing to follow rule-making procedures and not underlying issues of students’ rights.
“This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students’ rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school,” O’Connor said. “The resolution of this difficult policy issue is not, however, the subject of this order.”
As we reported earlier:
Harrold Independent School District, near Wichita Falls, Texas is the official plaintiff on behalf of the state, but most of the attention there has fallen on the Fort Worth Independent School District where Superintendent Kent Scribner (right) issued guidelines that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
Last week, Paxton issued a nonbinding opinion that the Scribner’s guidelines violate state law by relegating “parents to a subordinate status” in being informed about their children. Paxton added that Scribner illegally enforced the rules without the school board’s input.
Scribner has ignored calls for him to step down and has issued a letter to state leaders noting that the district had approved official guidelines relating to transgender students five years ago.
The [lawsuit] is the latest in the battle between the federal government, led by the Justice and Education departments, and the various states that are trying to block the policy change.
The White House told every public school district in May that they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their chosen gender identity or risk losing federal funding.
The Obama administration’s guidance explained how Title IX applies to a wide variety of sex segregated activities and facilities including restrooms, locker rooms, athletics, single-sex classes, single-sex schools, social fraternities and sororities, and housing and overnight accommodations.