A federal judge has blocked the guidance that schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom or locker rooms of their choice.
This comes as a victory for the thirteen states that claimed the executive order given by President Obama was a federal overreach of power.
“This President is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform. That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect States and School Districts, who are charged under state law to establish a safe and disciplined environment conducive to student learning,” stated Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton(R).
The Obama administration has threatened to cut funding to any schools that do not comply with the order.
Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth, Texas, blocked the administration’s order on the basis that it had failed the Administrative Procedures Act. This act requires the federal government to allow for comments on proposed changes.
He also claims that Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in school districts, does not include transgender students. The law, he says, “specifically permits educational institutions to provide separate toilets, locker rooms, and showers based on sex, provided that the separate facilities are comparable.”
The Obama administration alleges that Title IX includes transgender students. President Obama has stood by his order in the past. “What happened and what continues to happen is you have transgender kids in schools. And they get bullied. And they get ostracized. And it’s tough for them,” President Obama said.
He added, “My best interpretation of what our laws and our obligations are is that we should try to accommodate these kids so that they are not in a vulnerable situation.”
Last May, Oklahoma lawmakers introduced legislation asking house representatives to impeach President Obama on federal overreach.
Supporters of the executive order have come out in outrage at the block. The school year is starting, they point out, and many transgender students will be bullied and harassed if forced to use bathrooms different from their gender identity.
A group of civil rights organizations that supports Obama’s order stated, “The court’s misguided decision targets a small, vulnerable group of young people — transgender elementary and high school students — for potential continued harassment, stigma and abuse.”
When Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick first announced his intent to support schools that opposed the order in June, rallies were held outside the Texas capitol. One mother held a picture of her transgender daughter, 5 years old, in a dress.
She cried and asked why anyone would want to put her daughter in a boy’s locker room where she may be harassed.
Another mother spoke against Gov. Patrick, saying, “you, specifically you, are endangering my child’s life…You have now told everyone in the state of Texas it is OK to harass my child.”