Shortly before leaving office, President Obama ordered public schools to allow students who perceive themselves to be of the opposite sex to use the showers and rest rooms of their choice or risk losing federal funding.
While President Trump has reversed the executive order, the transgender policy continues in some schools.
Now a top-flight legal organization has written to schools in Minnesota warning that their accommodations for transgendered students violate the constitutionally protected rights of both parents and students.
In July, an advisory council for the Minnesota Department of Education adopted a “Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students,” which mandates the “segregation” of students who are uncomfortable with sharing private rooms with the opposite biological sex.
“Privacy objections raised by a student in interacting with a transgender or gender nonconforming student may be addressed by segregating the student raising the objection provided the action of the school officials does not result in stigmatizing the transgender or gender nonconforming student,” Minnesota states in the document.
The “toolkit” asks schools to provide for both “shared” and “gender neutral” restrooms, locker rooms and hotel rooms for out-of-town travel to accommodate their transgender students.
It also advises officials running public schools to cater to gender-ambiguous students by referring to students as “scholars” rather than girls or boys, and the prom king and queen as “prom ambassadors.”
“Schools should not assume a student’s name or pronoun,” the toolkit says.
But the Alliance Defending Freedom and the North Star Law & Policy Center have written directly to schools. ADF, an international legal organization that advocates for the constitutional rights of students, and the NSLPC, a group of Minnesota attorneys, are warning that the guidance is a “legal liability.”
The toolkit’s recommendation, the letter states, violates the “right to bodily privacy,” the First Amendment’s right to the free exercise of religion, “parent’s right to direct their children’s upbringing and education” and “discriminates against female athletes.”