Obama Administration issues directive to public schools
Today, the Obama Administration will issue a directive to all public schools: allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity or face lawsuits or loss of federal aid.
The New York Times reports that the declaration will be signed by Justice and Education department officials “and describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.”
“In recent months, we’ve heard from a growing chorus of educators, parents and students around the country about the need for guidance on how schools can successfully support transgender students and non-transgender students in compliance with federal civil rights laws,”senior officials at the Justice and Education Departments wrote in a blog post accompanying the letter today. “Today, in response to those requests, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released joint guidance to schools explaining how federal law prohibiting sex discrimination affects schools’ obligations toward transgender students.” The directive prohibits “discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.”
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Yes. Can we stop this? Can we stop demonizing transgender people? Transgender children? There are school’s in North Carolina that would force this young girl to use the boy’s bathroom:
Does this make sense to anyone?
A photographer named Meg Bitton shared the photo to her Facebook page to prove how strange this obsession some GOP lawmakers have with bathrooms really is. Especially public school bathrooms. Leave these children alone.
“As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students” says the letter, a copy of which was provided to the New York Times. “As soon as a child’s parent or legal guardian asserts a gender identity for the student that ‘differs from previous representations or records,’ the letter says, the child is to be treated accordingly — without any requirement for a medical diagnosis or birth certificate to be produced,” writes the NYT.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals released a statement supporting the directive. Anyone who is an ally of justice and human rights supports this. Of course, there are some GOP lawmakers calling it “heavy handed” and blasting federal involvement in state issues. Well tough shit. When the state issue is discrimination, we simply cannot wait for those who have not evolved to the point of acceptance that we are all created equal to catch up.
“…our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” It’s time we start backing up our American ideologies with action. And this directive is a step in the right direction.