Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Trans Students' Bathroom Rights: Will DeVos & Sessions Follow Candidate Trump's Common Sense? Education Law Prof Blog

Education Law Prof Blog:

Trans Students' Bathroom Rights: Will DeVos & Sessions Follow Candidate Trump's Common Sense? 

Not Likely by Diane Klein

 The most challenging part of the school day shouldn't be figuring out where to go to the bathroom - or whether one can safely do so anywhere at all.  But thanks to the first act of our new Attorney General, those states that would deprive trans students of safe access to appropriate bathroom facilities will face no objection from a Trump DOE or DOJ.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Betsy "But What About The Grizzlies?" DeVos as Secretary of Education; Jeff "Elizabeth Warren and The Ghost of Coretta Scott King Are Bullying Me" Sessions was confirmed and sworn in the next day; and by week's end, the Sessions-led DOJ had reversed course on an important Title IX case relating to the rights of transgender students. 

This may be the first (and only!) time I wish Trump's Cabinet would take their lead from candidate Trump's public statements on an issue.  Unfortunately, recent events suggest the opposite: that DeVos and Sessions will be targeting one of our nation's most vulnerable groups, in a needless and cruel policy offered as a sop to the most deplorable, ignorant part of the electorate.

Nearly a year ago, on February 22, 2016, the Charlotte (NC) City Council voted 7-4 to expand an existing nondiscrimination ordinance to cover LGBT people.  The ordinance, which would have gone into effect April 1, 2016, included a provision permitting people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

On March 23, 2016, North Carolina, in a response that makes the Pearsall Plan look progressive and open-minded, enacted HB2, undoing Charlotte's ordinance, and requiring use of bathrooms corresponding to a person's "biological sex," defined in the bill as "The physical conditions [sic] of being male or female, which is stated on a person's birth certificate."  Under HB2, schools were specifically prohibited from allowing students to use any other bathroom than the one matching birth-certificate sex.  It stated, "Local boards of education shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility...designated for student use to be designated for and used only by students based on their biological sex."

HB2 became hugely controversial, and prompted boycotts of North Carolina by various businesses (like PayPal) and organizations.  (For example, the NCAA has pulled its championship games out of the state.)  It was in the 
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