State schools can keep gender-based restroom policy; federal judge issues stay

State schools can keep gender-based restroom policy; federal judge issues stay

By Neisha Roberts
The Alabama Baptist

Alabama schools can keep their current gender-based restroom policies, at least for now.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor granted the motion Aug. 21 for a preliminary injunction by Alabama and other states staying the May 13 Obama administration’s transgender restroom order. The order required schools nationwide to allow student access to restrooms and locker rooms of their gender “identity” rather than birth sex.

In an Aug. 22 press release, Attorney General Luther Strange wrote, “The court decision is a victory for parents and children all across Alabama. I joined the multistate lawsuit against the Obama administration … to prevent Alabama schools from being forced to surrender their restroom access policies to social experiments in Washington.

“The court’s (ruling) allows local schools to resolve issues pertaining to transgendered students without fear of litigation from the Department of Justice or loss of funding from the Department of Education,” Strange wrote in a letter to the Alabama State Board of Education on Aug. 22.

‘Considerable discretion’

“It is my understanding that principals and teachers in Alabama have considerable discretion in how to accommodate transgender students, with each case resolved in consultation with an affected student’s parents. That is the way it should be.”

The Aug. 21 ruling said the Obama administration overstepped its reign with the May order under the 1972 law banning sex discrimination in schools.

The 1972 law states in part: “facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex,” which O’Connor went on to explain in detail in his 38-page order.

“It cannot be disputed that the plain meaning of the term sex” in that law “meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth,” the judge wrote.

“Without question, permitting educational institutions to provide separate housing to male and female students, and separate educational instruction concerning human sexuality, was to protect students’ personal privacy, or discussion of their personal privacy, while in the presence of members of the opposite biological sex.”