By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, July 22, a Federal Judge has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction requested by Alabama and twelve other states staying the Obama Administration controversial transgender school bathroom access order.
AG Luther Strange (R) said on social media, that this, “Decision is a victory for parents and families all across Alabama. I was proud to join this multi-state lawsuit in May to prevent Alabama schools from being forced to surrender their restroom access policies to social experimenters in Washington.”
Alabama is one of the thirteen states that filed the lawsuit that requested the stay.
The US District Court ruling allows schools in Alabama and nationwide to keep in place their current gender-based restroom and locker room policies.
AG Strange said, “The court decision is a victory for parents and children all across Alabama. I joined the multi-state lawsuit against the Obama administration in May to prevent Alabama schools from being forced to surrender their restroom access policies to social experimenters in Washington. I am pleased the federal court has agreed to our request to stay the controversial order while our lawsuit challenging the legality of the transgender order continues.”
On May 13, 2016, the US Department of Education and US Department of Justice jointly announced that schools must allow students access to restrooms and locker rooms of their gender “identity” rather than their sex, or lose federal funding.
On May 27, 2016, Attorney General Strange advised the Alabama Board of Education, which governs K-12 public schools, that it did not have to follow the federal guidance until the multi-state lawsuit is addressed in federal court.
The 13 states that filed the lawsuit requesting the stay include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) condemned the decision preventing US the Department of Education from enforcing President Obama’s new directives.
GLSEN’s Director of Public Policy, Nathan Smith said, “This ruling, while not surprising, sends a terrible message to transgender and gender nonconforming students that they don’t deserve the same opportunities to succeed in school as other students. This ruling comes from a court specifically chosen for its track record of being on the wrong side of history. It is not the end of our fight to ensure that all students attend schools that are safe and affirming. It is incredibly important for schools to know that this ruling does not prevent them from enacting policies that are supportive and inclusive of their transgender and gender nonconforming students. In fact, such policies are even more crucial now as students go back to school, many without the support they might have expected from the US Departments of Education and Justice’s guidance.”
Director Smith said, “We call on school leaders and policymakers at all levels to focus, not on the politicizing rhetoric, but on the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming students and for parents, students and community members to tell their elected officials, including the next President, that they must support policies that provide all students with schools where they can succeed. Transgender and gender nonconforming students can and should continue to demand the support they need from their schools, including by filing a complaint with the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights if they face discrimination in school.”
GLSEN announced that it has created model laws and policies for schools, districts and states to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students are safe and affirmed at school, including a model district policy for accommodating transgender and gender nonconforming students that complies with Title IX.
The latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey found that transgender students were more likely to avoid gender-segregated spaces at schools, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. According to GLSEN, LGBT students who experienced discrimination and bullying and harassment at school were more than three times as likely to have missed school in the past month as those who did not, had lower GPAs than their peers, and had lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression.
State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said, “A federal judge has blocked the Obama Administration’s directive that schools allow restroom and locker room use based on gender identity rather than actual gender. This is a victory for “We the People” the federal government has declared war on the American family and traditional values.”
The ruling by US District Judge Reed O’Connor on Sunday applies to schools nationwide and comes after Texas and 12 other states challenged the Obama directive as unconstitutional during a hearing in Fort Worth last week.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We applaud Judge O’Connor for his stand in the fight for the privacy and protection of students. That directive was a lawless and ridiculous act by the President and we must continue to reject the Obama bullies. The facts show that one in four girls and one out of every six boys under 18 will be sexually assaulted. This unconstitutional mandate would have only increased those statistics.”
Many parents and teachers worry that if boys and men are allowed in the same restrooms as girls that more women will be the victims of sexual assaults.
There is no word at this time if this effects the University of South Alabama’s decision to comply with the Obama directive.