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10 more states sue Obama administration over guidelines that protect transgender students

10 more states sue Obama administration over guidelines that protect transgender students

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson obama transgender

Nebraska is leading nine other states in a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its guidance on transgender students rights.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced the lawsuit on the state government’s website on Friday.

‘Today, Nebraska, along with nine states, filed an action in Nebraska federal court challenging the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent mandate changing current Title IX law regarding how schools assign students to showers, locker rooms, and restroom facilities,’ says the website.

The nine other states are: Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.

‘Current state law and federal regulations allow schools to maintain separate facilities based upon sex,’ writes the press release. ‘The recent action by these two federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms be open to both sexes based solely on the student’s choice, circumvents this established law by ignoring the appropriate legislative process necessary to change such a law.’

The lawsuit also accuses that the guidance ‘supersedes local school districts’ authority to address student issues on an individualised, professional and private basis.’

The guidance issued in May by the Obama administration via the departments of Education and Justice requires schools to respect the rights of trans students.

Among the guidelines include: Providing trans students access to all of the school’s programs, activities, and facilities (i.e. restrooms, locker rooms, housing, and athletics) based on the student’s gender identity; referring to trans students by their chosen name and pronouns, even if the student has not obtained a court-ordered name or gender marker change; and also implementing safeguards to ensure that a trans student’s gender identity remain private; and respond appropriately to reports of harassment of trans students.

Previously, a coalition of 11 US states, led by Texas, filed the first lawsuit against the Obama administration over the same issue of rights of transgender students.

The plaintiffs include Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Maine Governor Paul LePage, the Arizona Department of Education, and two individual school districts in Arizona and Texas, according to NBC News.

The lawsuit filed in the Texas federal court by Texas Governor Greg Abbott just two weeks after the guidance accuses the Obama administration of conspiring ‘to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over common sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.’

Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, representing his state and a dozen others, asked a federal judge to stall the implementation of the guidance before the new school year starts next month, reports Dallas News.

Human Rights Campaign has released a statement denouncing Peterson for filing the federal lawsuit.

‘It’s a sad day when powerful law enforcement officials come together to harm children by collectively discriminating against them simply because of who they are,’ said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at HRC.

He added that Peterson and Paxton should be working to ensure that transgender students can learn in safe, respectful environments, not targeting them for discrimination and bullying.

‘This is shameful,’ Winterhof remarked.