Federal Enforcement Actions: The joint decision by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to withdraw and rescind past guidance on transgendered students means those departments will not be independently pursuing enforcement actions against schools and/or threatening the loss of federal funds based on a school district’s alleged failure to implement each and every aspect of the former guidelines.
As a practical matter, enforcement of the rescinded guidance has been on hold since last August when a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement. (See previous post.) The Wisconsin Department of Justice was one of several state departments that joined a federal lawsuit challenging the guidance that resulted in the issuance of that injunction. (See previous post.) Given the latest action from the new Trump administration, that lawsuit is “essentially moot,” according to a state DOJ spokesman. Continue reading Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have withdrawn and rescinded written policy and guidance statements related to transgender students that had been issued by the Departments in 2015 and 2016, including the “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” issued last May, in order to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.” The Departments will no longer rely on the views expressed in those documents.
The now-withdrawn statements had taken the position that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IX’s implementing regulations, which expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, require school districts to provide students with access to sex-segregated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) on the basis of gender identity.
Continue reading Feds Withdraw and Rescind Policy Guidance on Transgender Students
From Reuters: A U.S. judge blocked Obama administration guidance that transgender public school students must be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice, granting a nationwide injunction sought by a group of 13 states led by Texas (and including Wisconsin). Continue reading U.S. Judge Blocks Obama Administration Transgender Guidance to Schools
Last week, Wisconsin joined Texas and nine other states in challenging the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance on gender identity and use of facilities by transgender students. Under the guidance, schools must allow transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
In his May 25 press release, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel asserts that by reinterpreting the word “sex” to include “gender identity” without Congressional. consent or approval, the federal guidance amounts to executive overreach that undermines Wisconsin sovereignty and independence.
Continue reading Wisconsin Joins Challenge to Federal Guidance on Transgender Students
This morning the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education jointly issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to public school districts nationwide spelling out measures schools should take to safeguard the civil rights of students, based on their gender identity.
Both departments interpret that Title IX, which outlaws sex discrimination for any school receiving federal funding, covers gender identity. Because the law prohibits discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, the departments assert, this includes discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.
Continue reading Feds Issue “Significant Guidance” About Transgender Students
A federal appeals court (4th Circuit Court of Appeals) handed a victory Tuesday to a transgender boy in his attempt to use the boys’ bathroom at a Virginia public school. The 2-1 decision overturned a district court judge’s ruling last year denying relief to the student in Gloucester County, Va.
While the decision does not affect Wisconsin, which is under the jurisdiction of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, it is noteworthy because it is the first federal appeals court decision to come down on the issue. Legislation was introduced but not passed this session in Wisconsin that would have dictated school district bathroom policies in regard to transgender students. Continue reading Federal Appeals Court Rules on Transgender Student/School Bathroom Issue
The state Senate adjourned for the 2015-16 session following a late-night on the floor Tuesday (March 15). Earlier, the state Assembly adjourned for the session on Feb. 18.
In order to become law, bills must pass both houses of the Legislature in identical form, and then be signed by the governor.
Among the bills affecting K-12 education that were not passed by both houses in identical form, and are thus officially dead for this session, are:
- Assembly Bill 481/Senate Bill 355 , which would have imposed restrictions on the scheduling of school referendums and the use of certain types of borrowing by school districts. Under those bills, unless a school board experiences a natural disaster or fire, it could only schedule a referendum vote at a spring or general election. If a referendum vote fails or if school district electors block a borrowing attempt, the district would be prohibited from trying again for at least a year. The WASB opposed these bills. (See previous post.)
Continue reading State Senate Adjourns for 2016 Without Acting on Some High-Profile Education Bills