Donald Trump’s administration has rescinded the transgender student bathroom protections put in place by President Barack Obama.
You can read the letter lifting the protections above. According to The Associated Press, the Trump administration hinged its decision on “legal confusion.” Reuters described what the letter does this way: The Trump administration “revoked landmark guidance issued to public schools in defense of transgender student rights, reversing course on a signature initiative of former Democratic President Barack Obama.”
Obama had “instructed public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity, threatening to withhold federal funding” if they didn’t comply, according to Reuters.
The joint letter rescinding those protections, issued on February 22, comes from the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education offices for Civil Rights. The letter was sent to schools throughout the country.
The Obama administration had taken the position in “guidance documents” that the prohibitions on discrimination “on the basis of sex” in Title IX “require access to sex-segregated facilities based on gender identity,” the letter says.
The letter says the Obama guidance documents “do not, however, 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 continues that the Obama administration’s interpretation had led to “significant litigation” regarding school restrooms and locker rooms. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit concluded that the term “sex” in the regulations is ambiguous and deferred to what the court characterized as the “novel” interpretation advanced in the guidance documents, the letter says. By contrast, a federal court in Texas held that the term “sex” unambiguously refers to biological sex, the Trump administration letter continues.
The letter cites the role of states in saying, “the Departments believe that in this context, there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy. In these circumstances, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have decided to withdraw and rescind the above–referenced guidance documents in order to further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.”
The letter said that the withdrawal does “not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying or harassment” and says all schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students “are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”
The letter is signed by Sandra Battle, Acting assistant secretary for Civil Rights, U.S Department of Education and T.E. Wheeler II, acting assistant attorney general for the U.S> Department of Justice.