Some students, principals, parents and attorneys have condemned the Trump administration's decision to remove some federal protections for transgender students.
The Obama administration's "Dear Colleague" letter - from the Justice and Education departments - does not carry the force of law. It wasn't legally binding.
The decision had particular resonance in North Carolina, which a year ago passed a law requiring people in public buildings to use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates.
The big issue for both sides is whether the main federal law barring sex discrimination in education protects high school senior Gavin Grimm and other transgender students.
The guidelines had instructed schools to let students use the restroom that matched their gender identity, regardless of their anatomy.
The federal government, they argue, has long led the way when it comes to integrating schools, easing access to the polls, and other critical civil rights issues. "Ultimately the guidance is based upon statute and case law and statute and constitutional law. It was based on proven best practices that, frankly, a lot of schools around the country were already implementing at the time that we issued the guidance".
Duncan said the Trump administration's letter to the court Wednesday validates the school board's central argument: that decisions about bathroom use should be left to states and local school boards. The petition also questioned the previous guidance issued under the Obama administration.
The administration is not directly involved in the case.
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The Alliance Defending Freedom, one such nonprofit, defended the approach by the Gloucester School Board that allowed transgender students to, among other things, use separate, individual facilities to change clothes and shower.
It's also worth noting that Obama's guidance has been frozen since August, when a judge in Texas blocked it nationwide. "But the bottom line is that this does not undo legal protections for trans students, and school districts can and must continue to protect them and all students from discrimination". Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressed reluctance to rescind protections for transgender students and clashed with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who supported it, according to a person familiar with the conversations but not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions and so requested anonymity. Seventy-seven percent experience mistreatment between kindergarten and 12th grade, the survey says. Then in April, Grimm won a victory against the Gloucester county school board in the U.S. Court of Appeals and was allowed to use the boys' restroom.
The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Grimm before the Supreme Court. But now court may bow out of the case in order to avoid a major ruling on transgender students.
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsCaitlyn Jenner to Trump: You can still fix this "disaster" Federal Bureau of Investigation rejected WH request to deny contacts between Trump advisers and Russian Federation: report Trump admin rescinds plan to reduce private prison use MORE said Wednesday the Obama administration's guidance lacked a solid foundation in preexisting law.
"While it's disappointing to see the Trump administration revoke the guidance, the administration can not change what Title IX means", ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Block said in the news release. "We're confident that that the law is on Gavin's side and he will prevail just as he did in the Fourth Circuit", he said.
But Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is still pushing for a state policy saying transgender students may only use school restrooms that correspond with their "biological sex". "We look forward to explaining to the Supreme Court why this development underscores that the Board's commonsense restroom and locker room policy is legal under federal law".
Grimm's case is scheduled for oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on March 28.