Transgender Restroom order on hold

The 38-page Temporary Restraining Order was issued in Fort Worth Sunday by federal judge Reed O'Conner.

The judge ruled that the Obama administration, at least for now, cannot force public schools to allow transgender students use restrooms and locker rooms of their choice based on their own sexual identity.

"We will be looking at this, obviously, and seeing how it’s going to impact Austin ISD students,” said Superintendent Paul Cruz.

The district, according to Cruz, will handle the issue now, as it has in the past.

"In these situations we do go case by case, we look at that specific situation, and made decisions based on that individual student."

Advocates for and against the federal transgender guideline reacted, Monday, as expected.

"I would say this is a victory, with the first day of school being today, for many Texas schools, kids are going to school not worry about their privacy and safety being violated,” said Nicole Hudgens with Texas Values.

Chuck Smith with Equality Texas hopes the table will turn as the case progresses through the legal system.

"We are disappointed in the ruling but we do believe ultimately the civil rights of all students will prevail.”

A recent campaign, by Equality Texas, was launched to show how transgender students do not pose a threat. 

"Our hope was for the public to see that these are little kids we are talking about, and Ken Paxton and Dan Patrick are targeting little kids, to try to make political points and it’s harmful and it needs to stop,” said Smith.

But the Obama administration was also accused of using the issue for political gain.
When it sent out its notification letter- school districts were warned they could lose title ix education funding if the new guideline was not followed. Nicole Hudgens and officials with Texas Values noted the heavy handed approach and how it was a major factor in the court ruling.

"They are trying to redefine federal law which they are not given authority to do,” said Hudgens.
It’s believed the case will eventually go all the way to the Supreme Court. Before that happens, the issue is expected to be a hot topic at the state capitol. The legislature reconvenes in January.


Q&A About Ruling
By Paul J. Weber.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Answers to common questions about a ruling by a federal judge who blocked an Obama administration directive on bathroom rights for transgender students in U.S. public schools:
   ------
   Q: WHAT HAPPENED?
   A: Hundreds of school districts reopening Monday after summer break awoke to news that the judge had ruled that the Obama administration, at least for now, cannot require public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The decision by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor comes after 13 states sued over the directive issued in May.
   ------
   Q: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SCHOOLS?
   A: Legal experts say schools that allow transgender students to choose their facilities can continue doing so. But schools that do not are spared from having to expand bathroom access for transgender students or from risking being out of compliance with the federal government.
   ------
   Q: WHY DID THE JUDGE HALT THE DIRECTIVE?
   A: O'Connor sided with state Republican leaders who argued that federal officials skirted rules requiring an opportunity for comment before directives are issued. He also found that Title IX, a federal law that bars sex discrimination in schools, "is not ambiguous" about sex being defined as "the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth."
   ------
   Q: WHAT'S NEXT?
   A: Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said federal officials were disappointed in the ruling and were reviewing their options. Civil rights lawyers say transgender students can still bring their own lawsuits against schools that do not allow them to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
   ------
   Q: WHAT STATES WERE INVOLVED IN THE LAWSUIT?
   A: The lawsuit was filed in May by Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia, and the Republican governors of Maine, Mississippi and Kentucky. Two small school districts in Arizona and Texas, which have fewer than 600 students combined and no transgender persons on their campuses, also joined the effort to prevent the directive from being enforced.
   ------
   Q: HOW MANY TRANSGENDER STUDENTS MIGHT BE AFFECTED?
   A: The number of transgender students in U.S. public schools is unclear, but in June, a team of experts estimated that about 1.4 million adults in the country identify as transgender. That's double the estimate from a decade ago, according to demographer Gary Gates, who worked on the survey with other scholars at the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law that specializes in research on issues affecting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
   ------
   Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter

 

 

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