Philly Schools’ Transgender Bathroom Rules “Will Not Change”
President Donald Trump has lifted a guidance issued by the Obama administration that mandated all state schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their preferred gender.
The guidelines were enacted last year and grounded in the basis of Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs. The Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students required public schools across the country – regardless of state policy – to prevent harassment of transgender students by allowing them to use the bathroom of their choice as well as their preferred dress, name and pronouns.
Many Republicans saw the guidelines as an overreach of federal government and harshly opposed them. With Trump’s reversal, the matter will now fall in the hands of state governments and local school districts.
A spokesman for the School District of Philadelphia issued a statement yesterday following Trump’s decision, claiming the school system’s policies “will not change” in light of the move:
“The School District of Philadelphia remains a safe and welcoming place of inclusion for all our students. Every student deserves to know their rights will be recognized and upheld at school. This announcement will not change any school district policy or city law that protects our students.”
The district passed a policy protecting transgender students’ rights last year, shortly after the Obama administration issued the guidelines.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a tweet yesterday that he will “do everything I can to make sure Pennsylvania remains a place where everyone feels welcome.”
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) February 23, 2017
According to NPR, the Justice Department claimed that the guidelines were reversed because they 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. This interpretation has given rise to significant litigation regarding school restrooms and locker rooms.”
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