In Texas, a transgender teenager said his high school discriminated against him for almost two years. He was not allowed to use the bathroom that corresponded with his gender identity. When he traveled overnight with one of the school’s teams, he wasn’t allowed to room with his male peers, he alleged.
But Donald Trump’s Department of Education did not think it could help this student.
The teenager’s case is one of at least three involving transgender students’ experiences navigating school bathrooms or gender-specific sports teams that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has dismissed in the past several months, with the explanation that these issues do not fall under its jurisdiction, according to documents obtained by HuffPost and a source familiar with the matter.
The Trump administration’s view of these cases diverges sharply from that of the Obama administration, which contended that Title IX ― the federal law that deals with sex discrimination ― included discrimination based on gender identity. The Obama administration issued guidance holding that schools should allow students to use the facilities that align with their gender identity.
But a month into Trump’s presidency, the Department of Justice and Department of Education rescinded this guidance, saying that these issues should be decided at the local level and that the original guidance did not contain enough legal analysis. Since then, it has been unclear how exactly the Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, would handle these cases. An internal OCR memo from June directed employees to still take the complaints of transgender students seriously. It said employees may dismiss complaints related to bathroom issues, but it did not specifically direct them to do so. Read more via HuffPost