via Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students – The New York Times
Last May, the departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance directing schools to let transgender students use facilities that correspond with their gender identity. The “Dear Colleague” letter, addressed to school districts and colleges that receive federal funding, was based on the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, to include gender identity.
In a two-page “Dear Colleague” letter to public schools, the Trump administration said the existing guidance did not “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”
The letter — which does not offer new guidance but simply withdraws the Obama administration policy — says there must be “due regard” for the role of states and local school districts in shaping education policy in schools.
The letter also makes clear that the “withdrawal of these guidance documents does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment.”
“As President Trump has clearly stated, he believes policy regarding transgender bathrooms should be decided at the state level,” the White House said in a statement. “The joint decision made today by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education returning power to the states paves the way for an open and inclusive process to take place at the local level with input from parents, students, teachers, and administrators.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the administration has “a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment.
“This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate,” the statement continued. “At my direction, the department’s Office for Civil Rights remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying, and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”